Pangrattato is commonly used as a topping for pasta, vegetables, soups, and salads. Taste it yourself by trying out one of these four pangrattato recipes this summer.
A sprinkling of parmesan is usually the finishing touch of a delicious pasta dish, but how about swapping the beloved Italian cheese for the ‘poor man’s parmesan’? Introducing pangrattato!
Pangrattato is an Italian breadcrumb condiment that adds texture and flavour to many dishes. It translates to "grated bread" in Italian, but its nickname comes from times of poverty, when those who couldn't afford Parmigiano Reggiano turned to the ingeniously deceptive fried breadcrumb as a tasty substitute.
It is commonly used as a topping for pasta, vegetables, soups, and salads. Taste it yourself by trying out one of these four pangrattato recipes this summer.
First on our list is a delicious pasta inspired by the gastronomy of the Mediterranean Sea. Pasta Evangelists’s lobster and crab ravioli recipe combines fresh lobster and sweet crab meat, and is topped with a sprinkling of zesty lemon pangrattato, samphire, and sage butter.
Although the presence of pangrattato may seem misplaced in such an opulent dish, the vibrant burst of citrus from the lemon zest and the delightful texture of the toasted breadcrumbs complement the tender and mild lobster and crab that defines this recipe.
A great thing about pangrattato is that in the absence of cheese, it can provide a flavourful topping for vegan dishes, such as this pangrattato with sun-dried tomato and lemon recipe. In this case, the breadcrumbs are fried with garlic, sundried tomatoes, chilli flakes, lemon zest and thyme. It should only take you 10 minutes to prepare and then you can sprinkle the pangrattato over any pasta, risotto or salad of your choice.
If you want to have a tub of pangrattato on hand for whenever you want to add some crunch to a dish, chef Kate Ford recommends cooking the breadcrumbs only in garlic and chilli flakes as they will keep for six to eight weeks if you store them in an airtight container. Simply add the tomatoes, lemon and thyme just before serving.
This recipe from BBC Food is also lemony and garlicky when it comes to the pasta, but the pangrattato provides an interesting contrast. Here, the breadcrumbs are fried with pine nuts (or chopped cashews or pistachios) and currants, bringing texture and sweetness to the citrusy spaghetti. Anchovies can also be added to provide saltiness.
You can use any type of bread you like for the breadcrumbs but chef Portia Spooner suggests using the crusts of stale white bread that you would otherwise throw away.
After something richer and more opulent? Look no further. This boar ragù with lemon pangrattato is slow-cooked for maximum flavour, while the classic ragù is given added depth by incorporating a bottle of red wine into the sauce. It’s served with pappardelle but you could use a different flat pasta, such as tagliatelle. Likewise, pork shoulder is a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on any boar.
As for the pangrattato, the team at Delicious magazine have kept things simple with lemon and parsley so the breadcrumbs complement, rather than overwhelm, the ragu. If you have time, they suggest making the ragu up to three days in advance so the flavours have time to develop and then whip up the pangrattato when it’s time to dish up.
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