When I lived in the East Village, one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants was an Italian place on E. 5th called Lavagna. And one of my favorite menu items was their Vanilla Panna Cotta. To this day, it's probably one of best panna cottas I've had. This version, which I found on Serious Eats, reimagines that classic Italian dessert for the health-minded by replacing the cream with nonfat Greek-style yogurt.
As I've said many times in the past, I'm not a big fan of messing with classic recipes to make them low-fat, but a big exception to that rule is when you can use Greek yogurt as a substitute. Because Greek yogurt is awesome and should be featured in its own right.
The happy surprise about this dessert is that the yogurt's tanginess brings a whole extra dimension to the flavor, a nice contrast to the sweetness of the drizzled honey and the fresh strawberries. The texture was more gelatin-y than I generally prefer, but that is to be expected with the absence of majority of the fat. If you like yogurt but you're looking for something a little different, this is an easy way to mix things up. It's also a perfect dessert recipe for a 95 degree day because it requires practically no heat. Recipe after the jump:
VANILLA YOGURT PANNA COTTA
Adapted from Serious Eats
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
1 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons honey
Strawberries, for serving
1. In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with the water and let stand about 5 minutes, until softened. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer with the sugar and cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the yogurt until smooth. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean and mix into the buttermilk-yogurt mixture. Whisk in the warm milk mixture. Pour the panna cotta mixture into six 4-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
3. To serve, unmold the panna cottas onto dessert plates, drizzle with honey and garnish with sliced strawberries.