Southern Cantaloupe Prosecco Panna Cotta

A southern summer panna cotta recipe with buttermilk, basil and cantaloupe. 

I am downright thrilled with myself for this recipe. Panna cotta is something I have never made or even consumed (I'm not sure how that's possible). But based on cookbooks and The Internet, I had been feeling like panna cotta was a strong contender for a favorite dessert in this house. But I always put it off. I had this weird notion that I wouldn't be able to pull it off- like it wouldn't set or be creamy but that it would be bubbly and watery. The good news is, I pulled off a riff on a panna cotta on the first try which means you DEFINITELY can do this too. 

I'm calling this kind of a southern take: buttermilk, prosecco (if I wanted to be ultra Virginia we do have a few solid sparkling producers in the state), summer cantaloupe and basil plus honey instead of sugar. I also mention this in the actual recipe, but if you just downright hate cantaloupe, you can switch it out for seasonal blueberries. 

southern cantaloupe prosecco panna cotta with buttermilk
southern cantaloupe prosecco panna cotta with buttermilk
southern cantaloupe prosecco panna cotta with buttermilk

Panna cotta is kind of a great party dessert because it needs to be made ahead of time. It's light and cool and while you can mix and match it with many kinds of fruit, cantaloupe is a very special summer thing. And if you have dairy free guests, you can easily use the cantaloupe as a base for another recipe. Our goal is always how to simplify...and summer simple produce is the start of anything good. 

To select the perfect cantaloupe at the market the big key for me is smell. Yes. Smell the melon where the vine would connect. You are not weird for doing this, in fact if no one else is smelling the melon they have no idea what they're doing. You should smell sweet straight up cantaloupe. You're also looking for a heavy-for-its-size melon. Go on. Fondle the fruit.

And if you want to make this a touch "healthier", make each panna cotta serving thinner (don't fill each glass as much) and top with more fruit.  

southern cantaloupe prosecco panna cotta with buttermilk
southern cantaloupe prosecco panna cotta with buttermilk

Cantaloupe Prosecco Panna Cotta

Serves 5

/// Ingredients ///

  • 1/2 cup prosecco
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1, 1/4 oz packet of unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup clover honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cantaloupe or other fruit of choice
  • fresh basil 

*serve with extra sparkling wine*

/// Directions ///

In a small bowl add buttermilk and prosecco together. Sprinkle gelatin over top and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, add heavy cream and honey to a pan on the stove and heat until steaming (do not boil!). Add vanilla extract and remove from heat. Add cream mix to gelatin and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Divide the mixture between 5 small bowls or the containers of your choice. Chill for at least 3 1/2 hours. Top with cantaloupe balls and fresh basil. Cantaloupe is easily exchanged for a variety of berries. 

southern cantaloupe prosecco panna cotta with buttermilk

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.