Traditionally, breadcrumbs were added to pasta to add texture and taste for when you couldn’t afford parmesan. Today, I experiment with adding “pangrattato” (the Italian word for breadcrumbs) because I have some stale bread to use up, and also because it makes a pasta dish dairy-free (and tomato free) which is an interesting alternative for vegans and those who can’t eat cheese.
It might be obvious to mention that breadcrumbs have a completely different taste to parmesan. However, they do add an interesting texture, and, coupled with strong garlic and lemon, I decide I quite like it. Definitely worth trying if you’re up for something new.
Ingredients (serves 1, generously)
- Half a courgette, chopped into dice
- 1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
- A teaspoon or so of chilli flakes (adjust according to taste)
- The zest and juice of half a lemon
- A handful of basil leaves, torn
- 100 grams spaghetti
- 50 – 75 grams of fresh breadcrumbs
- Olive oil
In a large frying pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and add the breadcrumbs. Toast for a few minutes on a medium heat, until lightly brown, before removing and setting to one side.
Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Add another drizzle of olive oil in the same frying pan as the breadcrumbs, and add the garlic, lemon zest and chilli. Cook on a medium heat for a minute or so, allowing to become fragrant, before adding the courgette, allowing it to become soft and golden.
When the pasta is ready, add it to the frying pan with a little of the cooking water and toss through. Check the seasoning and lemon juice, adding more to taste, before finishing with the basil. At the last minute, add the breadcrumbs and eat immediately.