In my effort to get back to exploring the culinary horizons, I wanted to venture off and try something new.  As I flipped through some of my cookbooks, this was calling out to me from the page.  Having never heard of pangrattato before, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was supposed be.  What it was?  A really flavorful crunchy topping that I’d be happy to put on anything from pasta to chicken.  Thank you Jamie Oliver!

5 lg. Leeks
Olive Oil
3 tabs Butter
3 cloves Garlic, peeled
tsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped
1/2 c. White Wine
1 pt. Chicken Stock
12 slices Parma Ham (or Pancetta)
1 lb. flat noodle Pasta (like Linguine)
2 handfuls grated Parmesan Cheese

For the Pangrattato
handful dried Porcini Mushrooms
1/2 stale Ciabatta Bread
Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
1 sprig Rosemary, leaves pulled off and chopped

Halve the leeks lengthwise and chop into 1/2 inch slices.  Heat a wide saucepan, add a splash of oil and a tab of butter and when you hear a gentle sizzle add the garlic (sliced), thyme and leeks. Make sure everything is coated in the pan by stirring it around.  Pour in the wine, season with pepper and stir in the stock.  Cover the leeks with the ham slices and place a lid on the pan.  Cook over med-low for 25 min.  Once the leeks are tender, take the pan off the heat.

In the meantime, to make the pangrattato, wiz the mushrooms and bread with a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.  Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a frying pan.  Add the garlic and the rosemary and cook for a minute, then fry the bread crumbs in the oil until golden and crisp.  Keep shaking the pan–don’t let the bread crumbs catch on the bottom.  Drain on paper towels.

Bring a big pan of salted water to a boil.  Boil noodles, following the directions on the package.

Remove the ham from the leek pan and slice it up.  Stir back in with the leeks.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the cheese and the rest of the butter.  Drain the pasta, using a little of the pasta water to thin the leek sauce if needed.  Serve quickly, sprinkling the pangrattato and any leftover thyme over the top.  Enjoy.

From Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home