Pesto Panna Cotta

  • Serves

    serves 8


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.


  • 2 (1/4-oz.) packages unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 13 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 14 cups sugar
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 14 cup light brown sugar
  • 12 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Cherry tomato quarters, to garnish


Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

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