This was the result of a lightbulb moment the day after a party. I was having a lazy afternoon, and helping myself to the last panna cotta from the night before (that I hid – shhh!). I was just letting my mind wander, thinking about the various panna cotta flavours I love. Naturally, I got to thinking about savoury combinations too and given that we had pesto leftover in the fridge from the party, and how much I love pesto, it wasn’t long before I got to thinking pesto + cream/gelatine = ? There was only one way to find out! So much for a lazy afternoon!
Like your regular panna cotta, this is extremely easy to make, and as it has to be made ahead and chilled, it really is the perfect starter for entertaining. Give it a good 5 hours to set before serving, especially if you are going to turn it out of a mould.
How to Serve Pesto Panna Cotta?
Serve it as a starter in a glass or bowl, or as an canapés/finger food. If you are planning a sit down meal, they could even be served as amuse-bouche between courses, just to surprise and impress your guests.
The flavour of Pesto Panna Cotta is predominantly creamy as panna cotta is. The pesto is very obvious but tempered down by the dairy. So in terms of topping, think about items that will complement the creamy pesto panna cotta, and/or contrast with.
In the images here, I have julienned grilled peppers, sundried tomatoes, pistachios and toasted almonds. Here are other toppings that we have successfully paired this pesto panna cotta with, some quite adventurous:
- toasted pine nuts (naturally)
- balsamic strawberries
- cranberries sauce
- smoked salmon
- a very light sprinkle of pounded Sichuan peppercorns (one of my favourites)
- chilli flakes
Are you a fan of Pesto? How do you use it differently? I’d love to know!
Pesto Panna Cotta, a savoury take on a sweet classic, served as a starter or as an amuse-bouche.
- 200ml (4/5 cup) whole milk
- 200ml (4/5 cup)double cream
- 10 Tbsp pesto homemade or shop bought
- 2 1/2 tsp gelatine
- pinch of salt
- dash of pepper
Toppings – see explanation above
- grilled peppers
- balsamic strawberries, etc
- Pour half the milk in a very shallow dish and sprinkle the gelatine all over and leave to soak for a good 20 minutes.
- While the gelatine is soaking, get your topping ingredients ready.
- Mix the cream and the rest of the milk in a saucepan and set aside.
- When the gelatine’s had its soaking time, heat the milk/cream mix and bring to boil. Watch it very closely as it will just suddenly rise up!
- Take it off the heat and add the gelatine mix and beat with a whisk or fork to mix thoroughly.
- Strain into a clean, medium sized jug if you don’t have a smooth mix. If your gelatine had been given enough time to soak, and there were no more granules on the surface, you should have a smooth mix with all the gelatine dissolved.
- Add the pesto, salt and pepper and stir well.
- Pour into your mould or glass of choice and place straight into the fridge and let set overnight or a medium of 6 hours.
- Serve with your chosen toppings.
Total time does not include chilling time.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 minutes
- Category: Starter/Amuse-Bouche
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 4 as a starter