The following recipe will show you how to make the basic gelato (Italian ice cream). To this, you can add the flavourings of your choice. Add vanilla beans, ground hazelnuts, unsweetened cocoa or coconut flakes - the choice is limited only by your imagination.
Gelato differs from ice cream in that it has a lower fat content (higher ratio of milk to cream) and less overrun (volume of air) which makes it denser and creamier than ice cream and mimics the higher quality, more expensive commercial ice creams. This recipe, with its higher milk to cream ratio and the deliberate omission of vanilla, is an authentic recipe for Italian "Gelato di Crema." To omit eggs, or to reverse this lower fat, cream to milk ratio in this recipe, effectively makes this ice cream, not Italian Gelato. The only flaw here, and certainly no fault of this recipe, is that our home ice cream makers cannot duplicate the slow churning necessary to create less overrun (air) which results in the creaminess and density gelato is known for, so this was a little on the grainy or icy side. This is just delicious, and truly Italian! If you think this would be missing something without adding vanilla, just give it a try! - 21 Jun 2008 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
This recipe tasted pretty close to the gelato I enjoyed in Rome. It was perhaps (as one other person suggeted) a little eggy, but it wasn't too bad and the texture was devine. I used a 1-quart ice cream maker, and the recipe yielded about 3/4 of a quart, so in the future I will likely increase the recipe by 25% except for the eggs, which I think should balance the taste better. To flavor this recipe I used about 7 oz of Nutella, which gave it a delicious hazelnutty flavor, and I reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup because the Nutella is pretty sweet on its own. It came out pretty nice. - 05 Jun 2006 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
Wow, I feel kind like a trailblazer! ostaff1, thanks for sharing this basic recipe. We changed it up a bit since I had a LOT of half and half on hand we used that instead of the milk and added 2 teaspoons of real vanilla(accept no substitutes on vanilla in my book), but we missed a step and forgot to strain the mix before refrigerating it overnight. It took least than 20 minutes in the ice cream freezer and will double this next time because it wasn't enough for the beaters to really work on. If not for the straining issue, this would have been velvety and smoooth from beginning to end of taste, but because we forgot a film develops on the roof of your mouth and the spoon after eating this for a bit. Still delicious, but DON'T FORGET TO STRAIN THIS! - 11 Oct 2003 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)