I first had panna cotta at Maggiano's and fell in love with it. I later found out, to my regret, it had gelatin in it and was delighted to find a non-gelatin version during our trip to Paris in 2014. I have been wanting to make it ever since, and found a good gelatin substitute, agar agar in a local store. It didn't set at all the first time I made it. I then found out I had bought agar agar flakes, and not powder and much google research, figured out how to use the flakes.
Recipe source: Epicurious, link in Recipe notes section
This recipe uses a mango compote for the topping. Toppings:
I chose fresh mangoes, blue berries and green grapes as my toppings. How to use agar agar:
The recipe also adds the agar agar directly into the boiling milk. I read that it's better to dissolve it separately in water, and add it to the milk. It seemed to have worked beautifully!
I have been wanting to make this most sublime dessert ever since I tasted it a couple of years back, first at Maggiano's (which was unfortunately made with gelatin), and then at a restaurant in Paris, which was amazing, and had no gelatin!
This dessert is simple to make but looks very elegant, tastes amazing, and the best thing to do if you make it would be to keep the toppings simple and not too overpowering. Most recipes I found online had some sort of fruit compote as the topping, but I chose fresh fruits to keep it light.
If you do make it, I would love to hear what variations you came up with.