A recipe for Italian gelato calls for milk, half-and-half, sugar, egg yolks and heavy cream. Flavored Italian gelato requires extra ingredients such as cocoa powder, cinnamon or vanilla extract.
To make a basic vanilla Italian gelato, pour 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1 cup of half-and-half or cream, and 1 dash of salt into a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine 6 egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of sugar. Slowly pour half of the warm cream mixture into the sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Whisk the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream mixture, and heat for 10 minutes until the gelato thickens. Pour it into a bowl in an ice bath, then strain the mixture before churning it in an ice cream maker.
In order to make chocolate gelato, combine 2 1/4 cups of whole milk, 1/3 cup of heavy cream and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan, and simmer. Stir in 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 ounces of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate. Cream together 4 egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar in a separate bowl, then gradually add in the chocolate mixture. Once it's combined, pour the gelato back into the saucepan, and cook at medium-low heat until it thickens. Strain the mixture, then stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of Mexican coffee liqueur before churning.