Must-try: plain Jane panna cotta gets a mozzarella makeover at Buca
At Buca, the imposingly cool King West osteria, chef Rob Gentile jacks up his traditional Italian dishes with whimsical substitutions—pizzas smothered in duck egg yolks instead of tomato sauce, bison prosciutto instead of pork, chocolate ice cream made with pig’s blood instead of cream. The inspiration for his latest bait and switch came on a recent trip to Sicily, where he tasted a savoury panna cotta made with buffalo mozzarella. He has reimagined the recipe as an autumnal dessert, whipping the mozzarella into gossamer fluff and fortifying it with cream and gelatin. He serves it with Concord grapes two ways—in their natural pearl state and as stewed mosto cotto—and adds a flourish of citrus-infused olive oil, crumbled pistachio biscotti and a pinch of vanilla salt. The exquisite cloud has the creamy texture and tangy pucker of the world’s best cheesecake filling, the daintiness of meringue and, in case you’d forgotten what you were eating, just the slightest panna cotta jiggle. $12. Buca, 604 King St. W., 416-865-1600.