Black Pepper and Parmesan Panna Cotta

Black Pepper and Parmesan Panna Cotta

By: Caren Hatton

When you think of Panna Cotta you probably think dessert. This savory rendition will leave your guests begging for the recipe!
Pairing suggestion: Arietta White Wine on the White Keys 2017


  • 2 sheets gelatin
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 4 T. olive oil, separated
  • Handful cherry tomatoes, to serve
  • Basil oil or premade basil pesto, to serve
  • Pine nuts and/or parmesan crisps, to serve


  1. Bloom the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water while you make the base.
  2. Heat milk and cream in a saucepan. Bring it to boil, and thoroughly mix the parmesan cheese and black pepper. Take the gelatin sheets (without the water) and add them to the hot mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. Pour this mixture into ramekins or glass cups. Place in the refrigerator to set, at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.
    Just before serving, assemble the garnishes: prepare the balsamic reduction by heating balsamic vinegar with sugar until it reduces and looks thick.
  4. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Toss them in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and grill them in a grill pan until you see grill marks on them (or roast them in the oven for half an hour at 350 F).
  5. You can serve the panna cotta with either premade basil pesto or with homemade basil oil: process ¼ cup of basil leaves with 2 T. of olive oil. Process it in a way that it does not become a puree but is instead a coarse/rough mix. You could also do this with a mortar and pestle.
  6. To serve, spoon a little bit of basil pesto or oil on a plate. Unmold the panna cotta (directions below) and place it on top. Top it off with cherry tomatoes and drizzled balsamic glaze. Garnish with pine nuts or a parmesan crisp.
  7. To unmold the panna cotta, run a knife around the edges of the ramekins and then try to invert it on a plate before you place it on the serving plate. Silicone muffin molds can be helpful for unmolding panna cotta. They can also be served in the original ramekins/glass cups and topped with the pesto, tomatoes, and glaze.

This recipe was adapted from Food52.