Parmesan Panna Cotta Starter with Onion Red Wine Sauce and Truffle Cream

Absolutely delicious parcels of tasty

I’ve been thinking of this starter for a while now, it’s basically a shortcrust pastry base (soft, crumbly and airy) in a tartlet shell filled with a truffle foam and topped with a thick and rich Parmesan and cannellini beans panna cotta. All very rich elements, and so, I add a drop of a sharp and sweet red wine reduction on top of the Parmesan to cut through the richness and finish with a shaving of Parmesan. The lightly dressed salad of baby arugula on the side of the assembly really helped in cutting through the richness even further.

I portioned the starter as a canape (roughly) 2.5cm wide cylinder, and can be served as a communal starter or an amuse bouche. The pastry was served at room temperature, the panna cotta cool, but not overwhelmingly so, as is the cream, and the wine sauce should be slightly warm.

Serves 6 Starters

For the panna cotta

1/2 a can of Cannellini beans

1/4 cup cream

1/2 clove of garlic finely chopped

1 tsp of fresh rosemary

1 tbsp olive oil

10 heaped tsp of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tsp of gelatin powder melted in warm water

Salt and pepper to taste (even though the Parmesan is naturally salty, this will need some extra salt to stand up against the shortcrust and the cream)

In a blender, combine the Parmesan, beans, rosemary, oil and garlic and blend to a fine paste. Remove from the blender and into a bowl, and combine with the cream. In a microwave for about 20-30s heat the mix to warm it up and stir in the gelatin uniformly. Pour the panna cotta into a silicone baking mold tray with the individual mold being roughly the same diameter as the tartlets. Place in a refrigerator and allow to set over about 6hrs.

Preheat the oven to 180degrees.

For the shortcrust pastry, you’ll need about 150g of flour and 85g of butter, made using this recipe. Roll out the pastry until it’s about 4mm thick and roll onto a silicone tartlet shell mold baking tray and bake until golden brown (about 20min).

For the Sauce:

1 1/2 chopped shallots

1/2 glass of red wine

2 dashes of Worcester sauce

1/2 teaspoon of chopped thyme

1 tsp of sugar

olive oil

in a small pan, heat the olive oil on  a medium high heat and saute the shallots for a couple of minutes until soft but not browned. Add the remaining ingredients, whisk well and allow to simmer on a low heat for about 20mins, until the alcohol is cooked away. Season with salt and pepper and strain the sauce to remove the bits of shallots and thyme. Keep the liquid warm on a low heat until plating.

For the Foam:

Use about 200ml of whipping cream, add about 2tbsp of white truffle oil (to taste) and 1 tsp of Dijon mustard. Either fold the oil and mustard into a manually whipped cream, or place all ingredients into a gas foamer and prepare for plating.

To plate:

Place the shells of shortcrust pastry on a plate. After taking the panna cotta out of the fridge for about 30mins, trim the individual discs so that they’re no more than 1/2cm thick; pour in some foam onto the shell, top with the disc and add a drop of the sauce on top and finish with a Parmesan shaving. Hope you enjoy!

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