Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Learn a New Word

In search of a use for a stale hunk of pane di casa from Citarella's, I stumbled upon a host of recipes for an Italian bread crumb topping, or pangrattato. Italians use it instead of grated cheese (it is also known as "poor man's Parmesan"), sprinkling it on pasta, gratins, and roasted or steamed vegetables. To make my pangrattato, I simply scooped the insides of the bread into a food processor and ground them into crumbs before sauteeing until crisp in a frying pan with some olive oil. I added some anchovies for flavor. You could also add hot red pepper flakes, minced garlic, lemon zest, and/or parsley. I used my pangrattato on a silky turnip puree. Here's the recipe:

Turnip Puree with Anchovy Pangrattato
Serves 6 to 8

3 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth
2 cups stale country bread, torn into pieces
4 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Place the turnips in a large, heavy pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, turn down the heat, and simmer until tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
2. While turnips are cooking, combine bread and anchovies in the workbowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.
3. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the bread crumb mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Remove from heat, stir in parsely, and set aside.
4. Drain the turnips and puree (in batches if necessary) in a food processor with the butter and chicken broth. Scrape into a serving bowl, season with salt, and sprinkle with bread crumb topping before serving.

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