I’ve had two opportunities to eat at Bice Ristorante in San Diego, and I wanted to feature them because they have Italian gluten-free pasta that is truly delicious. We stopped going out for Italian, unless I want to eat risotto. I was thrilled at the top-notch service and incredible extra touches and options they provide for gluten-free diners.
My first experience at BICE was at the STAR Olive Oil dinner during the BlogHer convention. There were three of us gluten-free diners, and we were amazed that they brought us Glutino breadsticks and crackers, so we could enjoy the olive oil tasting along with everyone else. Chef Mario Cassineri provided us with incredible dishes, all with gluten-free pasta imported from Italy.
I asked if I could come back and have him demonstrate how he made this amazing dish, and have him share his recipe. While you might not be able to make every step of this dish, it should provide you with inspiration for gluten-free dining. (He imports Scotti rice pasta from Italy.)
Angel Hair Rice Pasta with Chilean Sea Bass, Shrimp, Baby Spinach, Bottarga and Burrata Foam in a Delicate Lobster Bisque
Recipe courtesy of Chef Mario Cassineri, BICE Ristorante
Ingredients for Lobster Broth (you could ask at your local seafood market if they ever have lobster or shrimp shells)
5 carrots, cut
1 bunch celery, cut
2 cubed white onions
5 whole cloves of garlic
2 oz. basil
7 whole anchovies
2 T. tomato paste
1/4 gallon tomato sauce
1-1/2 C. brandy
24 lobster shells
2 buckets of ice
Put all ingredients in a large pot. Cook on high for two hours. Strain into another cooking pot. (If you made this full amount, you could freeze most of this stock for later use. Or you could look for pre-made lobster bisque.)
Ingredients for the lobster bisque:
All the lobster broth
½ C. olive oil
2 T. chopped anchovies
1 lb. cherry tomatoes
3 C. tomato sauce
5 leaves basil
2 T. chopped shallots
For each portion:
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
½ t. sliced garlic
4.2 oz rice angel hair pasta
6 fl. oz. lobster bisque
1 pinch of chopped basil
1 oz. Chilean Bass chunks
2-4 Mexican white shrimp (size 16/20)
1 oz. fresh spinach
½ t. bottarga*
Cook the angel hair pasta by bringing a large pot of water to boiling, add a large handful of kosher salt and cook al dente, about 2-3 minutes. Drain.
In another pan, heat the olive oil, add the garlic just until it starts to brown. Add the shrimp and sea bass and sear them. Add the lobster bisque and reduce. Add the pasta and the spinach and basil and cook until wilted. Add a little of the pasta water. Add a touch of olive oil, salt to taste, and serve in a pasta bowl. Grate the bottarga on top, then top with burrata foam. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
To make one T. of burrata foam, take 1 t. fresh burrata cheese, add 1/2 C. milk, salt, and pepper. Blend it together until it’s a creamy consistency (he used a whipped cream canister for this).
What I learned:
- I don’t use large enough pots to cook my pasta, or anywhere near enough salt
- Restaurant food is expensive because many, many ingredients go into each step of a dish
- I don’t usually have my pans hot enough
- The difference between bottarga and burrata (two ingredients I had never heard of)
* Bottarga is the pouch of eggs (roe) from Sardinian tuna. It is massaged to remove the air, then dried. Mario called it the “truffle of Sardinia.” Burrata is a fresh cheese made from mozzarella and cream.
Many thanks to Chef Mario for allowing me to come into his kitchen, and to take home this marvelous dish.