Ever thought that pasta bake lacks a bit of crunch?
These are Sacla Pangrattato – toasted breadcrumbs with a whole load of flavour. I was sent a couple of pots to try out – a fiery chilli one and a garlic and herb one. They are designed to sprinkle over pasta and potato dishes before baking, to give them added texture and extra flavour.
Garlic and Herb
My first taste of Pangrattato was when I sprinkled it all over a tomato and herb pasta bake the other evening. I used about half the pot, adding it just over half way through cooking when I added the cheese (cheese first, then breadcrumbs). It gave the bake a lovely crunchy top and added loads of flavour. It definitely enhanced the dish, giving it another texture too. I think next time I might add even more (the other half complained there could have been even more crunch!) – I quite like the idea of using it like you would a crumble topping rather than just sprinkling them over. But at the same time I think I could have used less, just to give the pasta bake a bit of a different texture without having a whole layer of it – it would work both ways.
We used the garlic and herb Pangrattato on pasta, so I decided to give the chilli one a try on potato – on a cottage pie. Because the other half said the pasta bake could have done with even more topping, I used about three quarters of the pot on the pie, sprinkling it over the mash potato before putting the pie in the oven. This was a good move as it really made this cottage pie different to any I have made before – the crunchy topping gave a really nice texture. I could have happily had the whole pot on it actually, I’m not sure why I left a quarter of the breadcrumbs in the cupboard (I’ll try it on top of a baked potato I think). The flavour had definite chilli kick – it worked well with the pie and I can see it working well on a risotto too.
Now you can probably make these yourself – in fact you can definitely make them yourself with bread, oil, flavourings and an oven – but as a lazy cook I just know I wouldn’t bother. I’m not sure I’d use them all the time but yes they definitely added something to the dishes I tried that I liked. Of the two flavours I think the garlic and herb is more versatile, but the chilli one does add something different to “normal” home cooked meals.
Sacla Pangrattato toasted breadcrumbs are available from Tesco at £1.99 each.