Pangrattato is an Italian recipe that's simple to make and perfect for adding to pasta, risotto, soups, or salads.
If you're wondering what Pangrattato is, it's a crispy breadcrumb topping that adds texture and flavor. Traditionally, it's made using stale bread, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. However, you can get creative with the ingredients and add your twist to the recipe. I have a whole section on ways to adapt the flavors.
Pangrattato is a great way to add extra flavor and texture to your favorite dishes. Plus, it's budget-friendly and a fantastic way to use those stale bread ends.
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These notes are here to help make this recipe a success; they cover some but not all ingredients. For a complete ingredient list, check out the recipe card below.
Stale bread: You can use any bread you have available. I save chunks of bread in the freezer and then grab it out when I want to make pangrattato or breadcrumbs. Even white sandwich bread will work. The key is that it needs to be a little stale or dry. You can substitute panko breadcrumbs, but you'll get a finer texture.
Fresh rosemary: Fresh herbs are best as they are more robust in flavor and will release their oils into the breadcrumbs. You can play about with the herbs you use. (See the adaptions section below for ideas.)
Extra virgin olive oil: Use a good quality oil, as the flavor will be noticeable in the final topping.
Garlic: Buy fresh garlic as you want a whole clove to infuse the olive oil with.
We've tested this recipe at least 3 times to ensure it works well for you. Have a look at our tips for getting the best dish you can!
- Watch your breadcrumbs! They can go from blonde to burnt in seconds.
- Be patient and keep the heat medium to allow the bread to brown evenly.
- If your bread isn't dry or stale, dry it low in the toaster/oven.
- As soon as the crumbs are colored to your liking, remove them from the pan. The hot pan will continue to cook them, and they can easily go past the perfect point.
Why You'll Love This Pangrattato
These are all just suggestions and things that have worked in our test kitchen, but it is your dinner, so adapt it to suit your family. That is the beauty of cooking; we can all create our own delicious meals.
- Herbs: Swap the rosemary for thyme, oregano, or parsley. In summer, you can mix fresh basil through your pangrattato just before you serve it.
- Spice: Add some red pepper or chilli flakes to the breadcrumbs to give you heat. Or, for a more aromatic heat, add cracked black pepper.
- Anchovy: If you are adding your pangrattato to a fish recipe, try melting a couple of anchovy fillets into the oil.
- Cheese: Although pangratatto was invented as a 'replacement' for parmesan. Adding a grating of parmesan to the cooled breadcrumbs does add an excellent salt umami quality.
- Infused oil: Change the flavor of your breadcrumbs with flavored/infused oils. Lemon, orange, chili, truffle, or herb oil all work well. Another favorite way to add flavor is using the leftover oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes.
- Citrus: Add a fresh bite with the zest of a lemon, orange, or lime.
- Nuts: Add some finely chopped almonds, pinenuts, or walnuts to the mix.
You can store any leftover pangrattato in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. You can make a larger batch of pangrattato in advance. Just cook as directed, and once cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
These crispy crumbs have so many fantastic uses!
- Sprinkle them over your pasta.
- Use them as a crispy topping for pasta bakes.
- Use them to add a different texture to your creamy risottos.
- Add them to the top of the soup instead of croutons.
- Add crunch to simple vegetables by steaming/boiling them, tossing them in salt and olive oil, and topping them with these crispy crumbs.
- Replace the croutons in a salad with a good sprinkling of these.
Try adding pangrattato to these delicious pasta dishes:
- Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Pasta
- Rigatoni Arrabbiata
- Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
If you make Pangrattato, please come back and comment. You can also tag me on social media.
Any questions about the recipe? Use the comments section below.
Get the Recipe
- 4 slices of stale bread
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled whole
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- Place the bread and the rosemary into a food processor and blitz to a crumb.4 slices of stale bread1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
- Pour the olive oil into a cold skillet and add the whole peeled garlic cloves. Turn the heat low and cook for 5 minutes to flavor the oil.2 tablespoons olive oil2 cloves garlic
- Remove the garlic from the pan and add the breadcrumbs.
- Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until the crumbs are browned and crispy.
- Stir in the salt. Taste and add extra salt if needed.½ teaspoon fine salt
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the crumbs to a small bowl.
- If making in advance, allow them to cool before covering the container.
Nutrition is per serving