Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

So-Good-You-Won't-Miss-the-Gluten Baked Macaroni & Cheese #glutenfree

It's been hard, to say the least, for my daughter to make the change to a gluten-free diet.  She most lamented having to give up her favorite dinner -- Baked Macaroni & Cheese. After trying half a dozen brands of GF pasta, and lots of trial and error, I'm thrilled to say that the recipe has been perfected!  The key to the success of this recipe lies in quality substitutions.  The best GF pasta that I've found comes from Italy (figures!).  Corn starch is the perfect replacement for flour in the classic roux that forms the base of the cheese sauce.  A combination of sharp cheddar and grated Parmesan add flavor and richness. I love a crunchy crumb topping on my mac & cheese, but bread crumbs, panko, and cracker crumbs were out.  I found my solution in gluten-free rice cereal.  It provided the perfect cracker-like crunch, without giving an off-flavor.

The entire casserole was devoured with gusto by my family, and it was agreed that this recipe yields a rich, creamy and perfectly toothsome dish that rivals any of the best gluten-filled macaroni and cheeses we've enjoyed.  I hope it brings you much comfort-food bliss as well.

So-Good-You-Won't-Miss-the-Gluten Baked Macaroni & Cheese

(serves 4-6)

  • 12 oz. Italian Gluten-free pasta*
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 12 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded (1 ounce reserved for topping)
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese (the real stuff, not the stuff in the green can), grated, (1 ounce reserved for topping)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. crushed GF rice cereal
Butter a 2qt. casserole dish and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Step 1:  Cook pasta according to manufacturer's instructions.  Drain and set aside.

Step 2:  While the pasta is cooking, melt butter over medium heat in a large nonstick saute pan.  Whisk in cornstarch and cook till bubbly and slightly browned (the cornstarch will not brown as intensely as flour).

Step 3:  Whisk in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened.  Turn off heat, then whisk in the salt, 10 ounces of the cheddar and 1 ounce of the Parmesan.  Whisk sauce until smooth.

Step 4:  Stir in the cooked noodles.  Pour into the buttered casserole dish.  

We couldn't resist enjoying a few spoonfuls right out of the pan.  It's great this way too!
Step 5:  Sprinkle with crushed rice cereal.  Top with remaining cheeses.

Step 6:  Bake on center rack of oven for 20 minutes (until bubbly).  Then, broil for an additional few minutes until golden.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.  


*My favorite gluten-free pasta, after a multitude of tastings, is the Organic Gluten Free Penne Rigate from Bionaturae.  The Archer Farms GF past from Target is excellent too.

Popular posts from this blog

Sophisticated Vintage Style in the 21st Century -- A Shabby Apple Giveaway!

CAMP CUPCAKE: An Elmer's Kids Craft Camp Party + Giveaway

Calling all Creatives: Win an Elmer's Looks for Less Prize Pack