(Photo by Renee Comet; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick)

How can you see a menu listing for something called Parmigiano “Gelato” and not order it? When you do, at Osteria Morini in the Navy Yard, it shows up formed into a perfect little quenelle, just as ice cream does at fancy restaurants. But it’s also sitting on a board, next to a pile of crostini. And you realize: It’s cold, not frozen; savory, not sweet. Once you start to dig in, you can’t stop.

The dish is so simple that our bartender offered up the basic recipe before we could even ask: “You just whip Parmigiano with cream and drizzle it with good balsamic vinegar,” he said. Turns out, that’s pretty much it, indeed. We got the scaled-down proportions and instructions from executive chef Matthew Adler, who said the official recipe comes from the flagship Morini in New York’s SoHo, and has also made its way to the third Morini in New Jersey. “It’s now a Morini classic,” Adler says. “People love it.”

About that name? It refers, more than anything, to the texture: soft and elastic, as a good gelato should be. When you make it for a dinner party, you’ll scoop it and stir it, and it will stretch and fall just as you’ve seen at the best gelato shops. Then you’ll taste — and believe in magic.

Recipe: Parmigiano ‘Gelato’

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