Pangrattato Is The Crunchy Addition To Elevate Your Pasta - Exclusive

Pasta is a reliable crowd-pleaser, offering a hearty starchy meal that can be customized in endless ways. In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Dan Pashman, author of "Anything's Pastable," shares plenty of tips for serving pasta. Beyond the numerous styles of noodles (including cascatelli, a novel shape he created that was recognized by Time as one of the best inventions of 2021), Pashman also highlights dozens of ways (81, to be precise) to dress a bowl of pasta beyond a jar of marinara sauce or bolognese.

Among Pashman's considerations when choosing ingredients for the recipes in his cookbook, he highlights, "I knew going in that I really wanted texture to be a big part of the recipes." He believes pasta dishes consumed in the U.S. are typically "mono-textural." Pashman turned to pangrattato (Italian for breadcrumbs) to counter this bland consistency. "I have a whole section on pangrattato, seasoned toasted breadcrumbs, which are a common thing to sprinkle over pasta dishes in parts of Italy," he shares.

How can you incorporate pangrattato into your pasta dishes?

A big part of pangrattato's appeal is its simplicity and versatility. If you're hesitant about adding unexpected ingredients to pasta, it's a good place to start experimenting. "Typically there they're doing it with toasted breadcrumbs, maybe with rosemary and garlic, a few herbs and spices," Pashman describes, adding, "I wanted to kind of expand that." His cookbook features several 10-minute recipes to add crunch to every bite.

You'll find a corn nut pangrattato with lime zest, a furikake garnish, and a classic garlic bread pangrattato for a familiar flavor. Depending on the recipe, they call for melted butter or olive oil to moisten the crumbs, before tossing them with minced ingredients and toasting them in a pan. "You can make a big batch and freeze them for months," he adds, which is great because he comments, "They're delicious on almost everything, even beyond pasta dishes." He describes serving lime-corn nut pangrattato with broccoli, string beans, and rice, proving these crispy garnishes are an easy way to instantly elevate a meal.

Before you start saving your stale bread to make crumbs from scratch, Pashman recommends using panko crumbs, noting that he doesn't have time to make his own and doesn't expect readers to either. Panko crumbs are crispy and the bits are slightly larger than standard packaged breadcrumbs, making them the perfect ingredient to boost crunchiness.

"Anything's Pastable" by Dan Pashman is available for purchase on his website or from book retailers.