with Benvenuti’s Chef Compagni

Benvenuti’s Ristorante Chef Anthony Compagni, known far and wide for his “artful, understated dining” concepts, shares with readers this recipe for Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Berry Coulis (serves 8). Try it yourself, and awe your family and friends. Benvenuti’s is located at 105 W. Main St. in Norman. For more information, visit BenvenutisRistorante.com.



1 qt. heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped

2 1/4 tsp. unflavored powered gelatin

3 tbs. water

Mixed berries for garnish


In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until evenly moistened, about 5 minutes.

Uncover the cream mixture and bring just to a simmer over moderately high heat. Remove from heat and add the gelatin; stir until dissolved. Remove the vanilla bean and save for another use. Pour the panna cotta mixture into eight 4-ounce ramekins and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the panna cotta is set but still jiggly, at least 3 hours. Serve in the ramekins with fresh berries.

NOTE:  If a special shape is desired, a silicone mold may be used instead of the ramekin. To unmold the panna cotta, dip the mold into boiling water for three seconds and invert over serving dish.

BERRY COULIS (with photos)


1/2 pint raspberries

1/2 pint blueberries

1/2 pint strawberries

3 tbs. sugar

1 tbs. lemon juice

1 tbs. frambiose, Grand Marnier or orange juice


Combine berries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat until fruit is softened.

Remove from heat and puree in food processor until smooth. Strain through a sieve and stir in liqueur or orange juice.

To serve: Pour directly on the panna cotta in a ramekin and garnish with fresh whole berries, make a swirl or zig-zag design on a plate using a small nozzle bottle and place the panna cotta from a mold on top of the design.