Pangrattato with Herbs and Lemon Zest – Crispy baked sourdough breadcrumbs, flavoured with garlic, aromatic thyme, Fresh Basil, and zingy lemon. It just takes a few minutes of active work and your oven or pan, to make the perfect topping for pasta, salad or anything that needs a bit of extra crunch and flavour.
What is it?
Pangrattato literally means “grated bread” in Italian. Also described as “poor people’s parmesan” it is so much more than that. A perfect way to use up and stale bread for example. But also, an incredibly flavourful topping for anything that needs more crunch. Many countries have their own versions of this. In Germany for example browned butter with breadcrumbs, to be sprinkled on Plum dumplings. One of my favourite sweet German dishes. (Let me know if you’d like a recipe for it).
I’m pretty sure you already have everything you need at home: Bread, I love sourdough for this, but you can use any bread. Ideally at least a day old. The classic is just bread, garlic, and olive oil, fried in a pan.
I’m adding thyme and basil here for a deep herby flavour and lemon zest for fresh zing. A bit of salt and pepper and that’s already it. And it’s one of those things that becomes far more than the sum of its parts.
You can of course very traditionally grate it. But I’m all about making my day easier and am clumsy, so sharp graters are not my best friend. So, the food processor is my best friend. Just rip your bread in rough pieces, peel and roughly slice your garlic, add thyme and basil, zested lemon, salt and pepper to taste and whizz it into crumbs. There should be a mix of fine and slightly coarser crumbs for that perfect crispy texture.
Now the tiny bit of hands-on work: Tip all into a bowl, drizzle over the olive oil and melted butter (you could use just olive oil here, but I just love the added butter flavour) and use your hands to thoroughly work the fat into the crumbs. That’s it. The “hard” work is already done.
Add the mix to a try lined with baking parchment or an oven-proof dish and let it bake for about 30-40 minutes until crispy. Mix it thoroughly every 15 minutes. Don’t skip the mixing, as it’s what gives you the evenly crispy crumbs.
Leave it to cool and store in a jar or airtight container for up to 6 months. You now have a brilliant crispy, fragrant Pangrattato with Thyme, Basil and Lemon for any of your pasta dishes. Or salads. Or casseroles. Or soup. Or Stew. Well…you get the picture.
I used this on my Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake the day after making it and absolutely loved the texture and flavour it added.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.
Pangrattato with Herbs and Lemon Zest
- 150 g bread (About 3-4 slices) preferably day old
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves ideally fresh, but dried works in a pinch. If using dried, add them after the baking
- 2 tbsp basil leaves same as for the thyme, fresh is best, so the flavour can soak into the crumbs. But if using dried, add after baking
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment paper.
- Rip the bread into smaller pieces that fit into your food processor.
- Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Add them to the food processor along with fresh thyme leaves, fresh basil leaves, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Pulse everything until finely chopped and well combined.
- Tip the mixture into a bowl, drizzle over olive oil and melted butter. Mix with your hands until well combined.
- Spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly on the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, mixing every 15 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crispy. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
- Once baked, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the pangrattato cool.
- If using dried herbs, add them now and mix thoroughly.
Calories: Approximately 85-95
Fat: Approximately 4-5 grams
Protein: Approximately 2-3 grams
Carbohydrates: Approximately 10-12 grams
Fiber: Approximately 1-2 grams
Sugar: Approximately 1-2 grams