Despite our best efforts to secure the timeless recipe to Amiccis’ mouthwatering and much-loved meatballs, the restaurant wouldn’t part with its sacred family secret. But that doesn’t mean its Pane’ Rotundo is a poor substitute. (If the excited anticipation of our own staff is any indication, this has to be one of the area’s most-loved recipes.)
A menu mainstay for the past two decades, the dish features a hollowed- out sourdough Italian bread bowl, glazed with garlic butter and toasted, covered with a thick and creamy shrimp scampi that complements the crispy bowl to perfection.
Nearly three decades ago, a baker came into the restaurant from out of town with several round loaves of bread, but there was a problem. Nothing on the Amiccis menu could utilize the fresh bread. Roland Keh, co-owner and chef of Amiccis, says he and his business partner Scott Panian spent the evening experimenting with the bread.
The mad culinary scientists tested several recipes, but the best one was their Pane’ Rotundo, and it hasn’t left the menu since.
“It’s the same now as it was 26 years ago when we first made it that night,” Keh says. “And it’s stayed really popular.”
Amiccis, in the heart of Little Italy, has been a mainstay in the neighborhood itself for nearly 30 years, a testament to the food it serves coupled with the neighborhood ambiance throughout the restaurant.
“We felt like there was a need for a casual place in Little Italy,” says Keh, who grew up in the neighborhood and still has family living there. “[The neighborhood] can be kind of touristy nowadays, so we didn’t want to intimidate people. We have a pretty simple menu at affordable prices.”
As for the Pane’ Rotundo, Keh says it doesn’t require any professional chef knowledge to create a delicious rendition of the dish. “It couldn’t be more simple,” he says.
Amiccis Pane’ Rotundo
1 pound of softened lightly salted butter
4 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Mix thoroughly and set aside. You will have plenty garlic butter left over to refrigerate and use at a later time.
The Bread Bowl
Slice a large round loaf of Italian bread into 2 round halves. Glaze both halves with garlic butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Toast in a 375-degree oven until golden brown. Remove when done and set aside.
Using a 3-inch-deep nonstick sauté pan, sauté 4 tablespoons of garlic butter and 1 pound peeled and deveined Gulf shrimp (leave tails on for appearance)
on medium heat. Flip shrimp over and add 2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Keep on medium heat while stirring the shrimp in the creamy scampi sauce until it naturally thickens.
Plate each round loaf of bread on a large round platter and top with 6 to 8 of the shrimp. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve to your hungry guests. Feeds 6 to 8 people as a wonderful appetizer.