Scott Conant Craves Mozza's Butterscotch Budino

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Pizzeria Mozza's butterscotch budino with Maldon sea salt & rosemary-pine-nut cookies. Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

On each edition of the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last time, Dovetail's John Fraser was seduced by Scott Conant's spaghetti at Scarpetta. And now, we wonder, what dish drives you absolutely wild, Scott?

"Pizzeria Mozza — the butterscotch budino they do is as good a flavor as I've ever had in my mouth. They put a little bit of sea salt on top, a little bit of whipped cream. It is so simple, and the flavors pretty much speak for themselves. It's that yin and yang with the butterscotch and the saltiness. It makes you appreciate all the flavors that are there. Of all the chefs, there's something about Nancy [Silverton]'s touch. I have so much respect for her approach to food."

Mozza pastry chef Dahlia Narvaez, tell us what makes that budino so good:

"It was really one of those funny things, kind of an accident. When we opened Mozza, we really wanted a gelato-influenced menu, and at the time, we had no gelato equipment. But we still had to open. So Nancy and I sat down and just put together a simple menu of things and flavors we loved with an Italian influence. I think people are drawn to the combination of warm caramel and Maldon sea salt, with the balance of the fresh cream on top of a creamy budino slightly spiked with good Scotch. My favorite part of the dish is the crunchy polenta biscotti baked with pine nut and rosemary, kind of a neat combination of savory and sweet, without going too nuts.

[The dish] reminds me of the opening of Pizzeria Mozza, being in the trenches with Matt Molina and Nancy Silverton, and being a part of the creation of what is now a signature dessert. From the beginning, it was such a popular dessert. We had no idea it would become one of Mozza's signatures."