Feb 18, 2012

The art of pasta making at BiCE Mare

Cooking classes seem to be the latest trend in Dubai, but everyone has been putting their own spin on things and focusing on what they do best.  BiCE Mare is a crisp Italian restaurant concept focused on seafood the Italian way! On this occasion Chef Francesco Guarracino taught us the ins and outs of making the perfect pasta dough, and then various styles of preparation such as fettuccine, minced beef ravioli, and tortellini, stuffed with lobster......YUMMMMY! 

Pictured below are the simple tools you need to prepare the pasta.  At this point it's pretty straight forward eggs and flour which is mixed and kneaded by hand before it's rolled through the pasta machine on the bottom left corner of the photo.  The key to good pasta is getting the right consistency and that can only be achieved through patience, practice, and this handy dandy pasta making device.  

Chef Francesco demonstrates the pasta tutorial step by step as the anxious "students" looked on with delight.  Chef went through the motions with such ease, I didn't even bother to take notes, forgetting my skills were going to be put to the test shortly........

Chef showed us how to make the long pasta pictured below on the left as well as the stuffed pasta shown on the right.  It's actually pretty basic, but it's a time consuming process you have to be dedicated to and plan ahead for if you are to enjoy the delicate chewy texture of the freshly made pasta at home. 

Now it's my turn! I probably should have dressed more appropriately for this lesson, but I still managed to get the hang of it after a few pointers from Chef Francesco.  We had an informative lesson at the hands of this passionate Italian chef, good enough to even try out on some friends very soon!  Now that we've worked so hard all afternoon learning the tips and tricks of making the perfect pasta, Chef decided to treat us to a seafood feast, BiCE Mare style......
First we enjoyed the rustic house-made bread, crackers, and grissini served with three dipping sauces: pesto, sun-dried tomato, and olive tepanade.  The crusty bread was the perfect vehicle for the sauces, the tepanade was my favorite. It made it difficult not to eat the whole loaf, but i disciplined myself enough to hold off, knowing there was a full on meal ahead.
We were then served the first course, two plates of "tasting style" starters consisting of fried calamari, seafood and avocado salad, grilled octopus, and seafood ceviche (pictured on the left) the other plate was filled with traditional Italian goodies such as a roasted eggplant cup stuffed with mozzarella, house cured bresola with truffle oil, Caprese, rocket and parmesan salad, and baked goats cheese crostini with walnuts and pesto. 

The main course on this over indulgent day of all things ITALIAN was a trio of pasta.  We had the beef ravioli in a rich mushroom cream sauce, the lobster tortellini in a sweet tomato sauce as well as a monkfish cannelloni  in a spicy tomato ragout.  Since pasta was on the brain, it was easy to gobble up all these little treats so preciously prepared by the BiCe Mare kitchen.  

I am usually anti-pasta at restaurants, because diet fads these days have made me very carb-conscious, but spending the day surrounded and immersed in the art of pasta making, I have changed my mind..... 

We decided to keep the carb overload going, by diving head first into a tray of decadent sweets! The cannoli was my focus, because it's so rare to find it around these parts.  This Italian dessert of Sicilian origin is common in the States, but otherwise rarely found outside of it's native country.  The filling is usually a sweet ricotta garnished with nuts or chocolates, and is a gorgeous balance of crunchy, sweet, and creamy goodness.  One can never have enough! This cannoli however, was not like the traditional ones I've enjoyed in the past. It had a custard like filling, so you can imagine my disappointment.  Nonetheless, I quickly moved onto the Tiramisu in a cup which had a strong coffee essence with a touch of cocoa.  No wonder they call this the "pick me up" dessert, it can really put a smile on your face after just one bite!
BiCE Mare is a gorgeous venue with friendly and welcoming staff.  They are a passionate bunch of food enthusiasts, that are happy to share the knowledge and expertise.  Against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa, it's easy to enjoy a pleasant lunch or dinner at this open and airy locale. If you make a booking, make sure to request the terrace seating to catch a glimpse of the famous fountain show.   For more information on the restaurant check out there website: 


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