This inventive dish from Marco Porceddu at Asellina in New York City reinterprets the classic sauce into a sweet dessert, accompanied by a tomato sorbet and candied pine nuts. This recipe first appeared in SAVEUR Issue #140, along with Laura Schenone's story Glorious Pesto.
2¼-oz. packages unflavored powdered gelatin 1⅓ cups milk 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup packed basil leaves 1¼ cup sugar 1 lb. tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped 1 tsp. kosher salt ¼ cup light brown sugar ½ cup toasted pine nuts Cherry tomato quarters, to garnish
1. Make the panna cotta: In a bowl, sprinkle gelatin over ⅓ cup milk; let sit for 10 minutes. Bring remaining milk along with the cream, basil, and ¾ cup sugar to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; stir until sugar dissolves. Transfer to a blender, add gelatin mixture, and puree until smooth; pour into eight 4-oz. ramekins. Chill until firm, 3–4 hours.
2. Make the sorbet: Bring remaining sugar, tomatoes, salt, and ½ cup water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until tomatoes break down, 12–15 minutes. Puree in a blender; strain and chill. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze until firm.
3. Make the candied pine nuts: Heat sugar and 1 tbsp. water in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook, swirling, until bubbling; add pine nuts and coat. Spread nuts on a sheet of foil; cool. Break apart into bite-size pieces; set aside. To serve, briefly dip the bottom of each ramekin in a bowl of hot tap water, invert onto a serving plate; top with nuts. Serve with a scoop of tomato sorbet topped with cherry tomatoes.