Pasta pangrattato is one of those hard dishes to remember the name of but so simple to make. Add a fried egg on top and you have a complete meal made in less than 30 minutes.
This recipe comes originally from Smitten Kitchen, but as usual, I have tried to simplify it even more. The first few times I made it, I found myself referring to the recipe over and over again.
Maybe it’s because I wanted to get it just right, or maybe I was totally tired. But I really wanted to create a recipe for you that you could just learn. One that you could turn to time and time again. A simple recipe that could make on a moments notice when everyone comes home at the end of the day a little bit “hangrier” than expected.
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What’s is pasta pangrattato?
Pangrattato is Italian for grated breadcrumbs. Traditionally it has been used as a poor man’s Parmesan, but in this simple pasta pangrattato we are still going to use Parmesan because its just so good.
And when it comes to Parmesan, buy the best you can afford. If you can grate it yourself, even better. If you are buying already grated cheese, make sure it is finely grated for this recipe.
Is this really a simple pasta dish?
Yes, I promise. It looks like there are a lot of steps and a lot of ingredients, but they really are all pantry staples. Let’s start with the panko breadcrumbs. I suggest panko because I find that the crisp up the best, but you could use any unseasoned bread crumbs you like. Make your own, that’s awesome! They will totally work here as well.
The bread crumbs get their flavor from the garlic, lemon zest and herbs. Don’t have fresh herbs, feel free to use dried. Like things a bit spicier, feel free to add red pepper flakes into the mix. The goal in this pasta pangrattato is to start with a delicious bread crumb mixture to really bring great flavor to an otherwise simple pasta dish.
The pasta can be any shape you like. I like long skinny pasta in this dish. Think spaghetti, angel hair or fettuccine noodles, but any pasta you have on hand will work. It’s all about texture here, so the only pasta I would steer away from would be things that are tubular (like mostaccoli, penna, and rigatoni), because you wouldn’t want all the pangrattato to get stuck in the pasta.
Make sure you salt the pasta cooking water well. Add more salt than you think as it’s the only chance you have to season the pasta itself.
Why add a fried egg to this pasta dish?
The fried egg brings this pasta pangrattato dish together. It adds some richness to the pasta mixture and a protein to the meal. It feels decadent, but is so simple. It’s really important to know how to make a fried egg and this is a great meal to practice with.
Tips and Tricks:
- Always make your fried eggs in olive oil. You’ll want delicious crispy wispy edges and the best way to achieve this is with a big glug of evoo. Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen taught me how to make these the best so I’ll defer to her here.
- If you don’t have panko, use regular bread crumbs, if you don’t have bread crumbs, use panko. If you have neither, you can make your own by toasting some bread and blitzing it in the vitamix or food processor
- Work quickly on this recipe, you’ll want the pasta ready to go when the fried eggs are ready, so that the yummy, runny yolk can be mixed in for that little something extra.
- Breadcrumbs can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for a day or two.
Looking for other simple,yet delicious pasta dishes? Check some of my favorites out here:
pasta pangrattato with fried egg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 clove garlic minced or one frozen cube
- ½ cup panko or plain breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or basil if easy to get minced
- Red pepper flakes optional
- 2 generous pours of olive oil olive oil
- 4 egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb pasta 16 oz
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅔ cup Parmesan
Make the Bread Crumbs & Pasta
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
- In a medium pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil or melt the butter. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute for only 15-30 seconds, so that it doesn’t burn
- Add the panko and toss in olive oil and garlic. Let the panko get toasty, stirring every few minutes.
- Add the lemon zest and herbs once the breadcrumbs are light brown and then turn off the heat. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a small bowl.
- The water should be boiling by now, so add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package
- Once the pasta is done, drain and reserve some of the pasta cooking water.
- Return the pasta to the pan and toss with parm and garlic breadcrumbs
- Wipe out the breadcrumb pan with a paper towel. Pour a generous amount of olive oil into the pan and heat until oil is just shimmering.
- Gently crack two eggs into the pan making sure they don’t touch. These eggs will crack and splatter so stand back
- Cook until the edges get lacey and then carefully flip over. Cook on the second side until egg is set to your preference.
- Divide pasta into bowls and top each one with a fried egg. Enjoy while hot!