These crispy Italian Pangrattato breadcrumbs are spicy and deeply savoury, with chilli, lemon and sun-dried tomato. A perfect topping for simple pasta dishes, risotto or salads.
🍴Why you will love this recipe
Pangrattato, (or 'grated bread' in Italian), is a crispy breadcrumb topping which adds a pop of flavour and crunch to the simplest of throw-together meals. I've used it here on an easy peasy pasta dish, but it is just as good on vegetables, risotto or even soups and salads.
Packed with flavours and easy to make, this lovely topping contains chilli, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, thyme and garlic. A simple way to jazz up even the simplest of pasta suppers.
These delicious breadcrumbs are just perfect for vegans, as they provide a flavour-packed savoury topping for pasta dishes and risottos, when you might have previously used grated cheese.
📝 What you need
Bread I like to use sourdough bread for excellent texture and flavour, but you can use whatever bread you have to hand. It really does make a difference if the bread is a few days old, verging on stale. Make sure your breadcrumbs are fairly coarse, and not too fine.
Sun-dried tomatoes from a jar add a deep, savoury flavour to the pangrattato. You will also use the oil from the jar to cook the breadcrumbs in for extra flavour, (though if you're using a brand new jar and there isn't enough excess oil yet, just use any ordinary oil instead).
Lemon zest gives such a fresh and fruity zing to the pangrattato, as well as a pop of colour to the finished dish.
You will need some way of making breadcrumbs - this could be a small mini-chopper or a food processor.
For small quantities I use my Breville Active Compact Food Processor which at £30 is a bargain and really handy for all sorts of small chopping and blending jobs in the kitchen.
Or for bigger quantities, I will get out my Magimix Pro Food Processor which has three different sized bowls for any size job.
👩🏽🍳 How to make your Pangrattato
For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page 👇🏼.
Break the bread into chunks and blitz to coarse breadcrumbs. Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, and add the garlic and breadcrumbs. Cook gently, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown and crispy. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, chilli flakes, thyme and lemon zest and cook for a further minute.
🔪 Top Tips & FAQs
It is quite easy to burn the pangrattato, so do cook them over a gentle to medium heat, and stir frequently. Don't leave the stove whilst they are cooking and adjust the heat as necessary.
Keep the breadcrumbs coarse for the best possible texture. Just pulse the food processor / blender for a second at a time rather than leaving it to run, and shake it from time to time to move the chunks of bread around.
I like to use sourdough for a lovely texture and flavour of breadcrumb. Ciabatta also makes a lovely crumb, but you can use any bread you have to hand. If it is a few days old and slightly stale it makes a big difference to the breadcrumbs, but if you only have fresh bread you can toast it slightly instead.
If you want to make the pangrattato to keep (rather than to eat immediately), I would recommend leaving out the lemon zest, thyme and sun-dried tomatoes. If you cook them just with the garlic and chilli flakes, they will keep in an airtight container for 6-8 weeks. You can then add the lemon, thyme and sun-dried tomatoes just before serving.
Pangrattato Breadcrumbs with sun-dried tomato and lemon
- 1 slice slightly stale bread (about 40-50g - I use sourdough for extra flavour)
- 5 sun-dried tomato halves from a jar
- 2 tablespoon oil from the sun-dried tomato jar or olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon ready-chopped garlic)
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 lemon zest only
- 4 stalks fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Break the bread into chunks and blitz to coarse breadcrumbs, (be careful not to let them get too fine).
- Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil from the sun-dried tomato jar in a large frying pan. Add the garlic followed by the breadcrumbs and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes until just turning golden brown and crispy.
- Remove the thyme leaves from their stalks and grate the zest from the lemon. Tip them into the breadcrumbs along with the chilli flakes, and season well with salt and pepper.
- Cook for a further minute then serve.
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