Visitors to Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas can enjoy an authentic taste of Italy at Si Ristorante Italiano & Bar. Elegant yet laid-back, this stylish venue was the first Italian eatery to open on the island. From classic pizza and pasta dishes to home-made aperitifs and a tantalising dessert menu, it is the perfect venue to celebrate a special occasion, with executive sous chef Massimo Bucca only too happy to introduce guests to the cuisine of his homeland.
Chef spotlight: Massimo Bucca
Beginning his career as a pastry chef, Bucca moved to the UAE in 2009 and arrived at Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas last year. His love of cooking came from seeing his mother and grandmother creating in the kitchen throughout his childhood.
Start off right:
“This is a classic Italian street food recipe that I am excited to bring to the UAE. An indulgent choice of starter, arancini are crispy balls of rice, stuffed with a delicious filling, covered in breadcrumbs and fried to perfection. At Si Italiano, we stuff our arancini with a tasty combination of green peas, mushrooms and fontina cheese. The soft creaminess of the buttery cheese pairs well with the crispy breadcrumbs.”
The main attraction:
Spaghetti with clams and bottarga
“This dish is simple when it comes to ingredients, but big on taste! It is also wonderfully light, unlike many typical pasta dishes. The clams are cooked in a very rustic way, with just a touch of tomato sauce and white wine. When these two ingredients combine with the juice released from the shellfish, plus the salted pasta water, it creates an explosion of flavour. You will feel as though you are enjoying a taste of the Mediterranean Sea itself. As a finishing touch, I like to garnish the clams and spaghetti with grated bottarga (cured fish roe, an Italian delicacy).”
The big finish: Tiramisu
“When it comes to classic Italian desserts, nothing beats a traditional Tiramisu, an elegant layered dessert made with ladyfinger biscuits, espresso coffee, Marsala wine, and creamy mascarpone cheese, all dusted with cocoa powder. The combination of light layers and rich flavours makes the perfect end to any meal.”