The sweet trend in Italian restaurants 2020 is undoubtedly chocolate panna cotta. And apart from being irresistibly delicious, it is one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever encountered.
I had my first taste of chocolate panna cotta at the recommendable Degusteria Del Gigante Di Gaetani Sigismondo restaurant in San Benedetto del Tronto. It was an intense affair like chocolate truffle on a spoon with a topping of lightly roasted hazelnuts. Since then I’ve encountered the chocolate panna cotta in restaurants from Matera to Trento, and it has become my favourite go-to dessert at home with a preparation time of 10 minutes max and the use of 2-3 ingredients only.
The recipe below accounts for the basics, but it can be elaborated with different flavours such as orange or vanilla, alternative toppings like whipped cream, cherries or other seasonal fruits, and variations in the chocolate intensity from light and milky to strong and dark. This version belongs to the latter category. If you prefer a milk chocolate flavour, you double the amount of cream to the same amount of chocolate and add 2 leaves of gelatine to help it set.
200 g chocolate
300 ml double cream
50 lightly roasted and rubbed hazelnuts
Heat the double cream in a casserole until it starts to simmer.
Remove the casserole from the heat and stir the chopped chocolate in the cream.
Keep stirring till all the chocolate has dissolved.
Pour the chocolate cream into four dessert cups. Cover them with cling film and place them in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
Roast the hazelnuts in the oven. Rub off the skin and chop them coarsely.
Sprinkle the chocolate panna cotta with chopped hazelnuts before serving.