Pangrattato (Italian Breadcrumb Topping) Recipe Ideas

 

Pangrattato (Italian for ‘breadcrumb’) is a flavoursome and crunchy Italian breadcrumb topping, particularly nice as an addition to risotto or pasta dishes. It’s easy to put together and a great way to use up old, stale bread (see also Yasmin’s guest post for more recipe ideas with leftover bread).

I first discovered pangrattato with this delicious recipe for Cauliflower Risotto by Jamie Oliver from his cookbook “Jamie’s Italy“. Blitzing and frying leftover bread to prepare a breadcrumb topping opened up a wonderfully diverse range of accompaniment opportunities, enhancing my mid-week risotto and pasta dishes ever since.

Try one of the following recipes, transform any plain Italian dish into something infinitely more flavourful and enjoy the taste explosion.

Chilli & Anchovy Pangrattato Recipe

Truly magnificent, this version works best with stale rye breads.

Ingredients

  • 2 handfuls stale bread, torn into pieces – I used Hausbrot, but any kind of rye bread or whole-wheat bread will be fine. As always, good-quality bread makes for tastier crumbs!
  • 1 small tin of anchovies
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • I also added a clove of garlic (very finely chopped)

How to make pangrattato

  1. Blitz the bread, anchovies (including most of the oil from the anchovy tin) and chillies in a food processor until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  2. Heat the remaining splash of anchovy oil in a frying pan and fry the breadcrumb mix, stirring and tossing constantly until golden brown, crisp and crunchy.
Cauliflower Risotto with Pangrattato
Jamie Oliver’s Cauliflower Risotto with Pangrattato

There are many variations of pangrattato. Experiment and adjust the ingredients in line with the dish you are preparing – use porcini mushrooms for a mushroom risotto for example. Here is another favourite of mine.

Recipe for Pangrattato with Lemon, Herbs, Cheese and Walnuts

Perfect for plain pasta dishes, I tend to use sourdough bread for this pangrattato version.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices stale bread, torn into pieces
  • 50g finely grated Romano cheese
  • 50g walnuts, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of rocket, finely chopped

How to make lemon pangrattato

  1. Put the bread, Romano cheese, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic into a food processor and blitz to prepare the breadcrumb mix.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat then add the breadcrumb mix and fry until golden and crisp.
  3. Transfer to a bowl. Add the parsley and rocket once cooled.

Happy pangrattato-ing!