Turn Your Day-Old Bread Into Italian Agliata Sauce

Whether it's a simple French bread or a rustic sourdough loaf, odds are you have some kind of bread in your kitchen right now. Even stale bread isn't necessarily without value, and many cultures have recipes based around it. For example, the English have long used it to make bread pudding, while the French employ it to make a sweet dish called bostock. Italy, however, may have the most creative uses for old bread, chief among them being agliata sauce — a thick and creamy sauce packed with garlicky flavor.

Agliata is an ancient sauce that dates back to the Roman Empire. It is said to have been enjoyed by people from all walks of life, both peasants and nobles alike. This is no surprise, as the simple recipe uses common ingredients — not much more than bread, garlic, oil, and basic seasonings — and the sauce can be used on a wide variety of dishes. Likewise, these assets make it just as convenient and versatile an option in modern times for bread that is past its prime.

How to make agliata sauce

Putting together an agliata sauce is easy. Break up your stale bread — or use breadcrumbs, if you prefer — and soak the pieces in water or vinegar until they are rehydrated and mushy. Take the resulting contents and add them to a clean bowl along with a hearty amount of olive oil and finely minced garlic, as well as salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar if you did not use it earlier. Whisk to combine. At this point, the sauce will have an emulsified consistency similar to pesto. If you prefer a smoother sauce you can puree the mixture into something resembling mayonnaise.

This zesty, pungent sauce is traditionally used on both pasta and meat dishes. However, it can take the place of virtually any savory sauce, adding an extra boost of flavor with its powerful garlic taste. Try spreading it on a sandwich or slathering it onto burgers. Alternatively, use agliata as a creamy dressing for a fresh salad or a potent topping over poached eggs. You can even use it as a dipping sauce for cold veggies or french fries. Similar to most other condiments, the only limits are your palate and your imagination.