The Italian name for toasted bread crumbs cooked in oil and garlic, pangritata adds a crispy crunch to pasta sauce and is often served with an oil-based pepper sauce instead of parmesan. Recipes that include pangritata, such as the following for “Pasta with Anchovies, Bell Peppers and Pangritata” from Sophie Braimbridge’s “Stylish Mediterranean in Minutes” (Kyle Books), provide a unique burst of flavor that home cooks looking to try something new will no doubt enjoy.
Pasta with Anchovies, Bell Peppers and Pangritata
2 large garlic cloves
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12⁄3 ounces (about 5 heaped tablespoons) coarse fresh breadcrumbs
2 broiled red bell peppers
2 broiled yellow bell peppers
31⁄2 ounces salted anchovies
1⁄2 to 1 large red chili
4 heaped tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 to 14 ounces penne
1. Smash the garlic with a little a salt using a knife or a mortar and pestle. Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet and mix in the garlic. Add the breadcrumbs, mix well and cook gently, stirring continuously as they burn very easily. When they are just golden brown, remove from heat, season with salt and place in a bowl, ready for serving. This can be prepared in advance.
2. Bring a saucepan of well-salted water to a boil. Cut the peppers into thin strips and place in a bowl. Rinse the anchovies, dry on paper towels, and then finely chop them and the chili. Coarsely chop the parsley and add everything to the peppers with the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil. Check the seasoning. This stage can be prepared in advance, too.
3. Add the pasta to the boiling water, mixing well to prevent any strands from sticking together, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of water to loosen the pasta sauce. Return the pasta to the saucepan, off the heat. Add the anchovy sauce and mix well, adding a little pasta water, if necessary.
4. Serve immediately with the pangritata sprinkled on top.