A storecupboard staple recipe in this house, it has been known for each of my children to pick out olives/capers/tomatoes (delete where appropriate), but what never gets missed out on here is the crunchy topping. Pangrattato (flavoured crisp fried breadcrumbs) was once relied on as substitute to parmesan in Italian cookery. It works brilliantly with pasta dishes that include fish, for example this Sicilian inspired spaghetti dish. Here I’ve used Peter’s Yard Rosemary and Sea Salt Crackers instead of breadcrumbs, and it works a treat.
400g favourite pasta shape, spaghetti would be ideal
4 tbsp good olive oil
3 – 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Big pinch of dried chilli flakes, to taste
400g cherry tomatoes, cut into ¼
150g tuna in olive oil, drained
80g black or kalamata olives, stoned and roughly chopped
2 tbsp capers, rinsed or desalinated, as appropriate
Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
Small bunch parsley, leaves finely chopped
Salt, to taste
PETER’S YARD PANGRATTATO:
1 packet of Peter’s Yard Rosemary And Sea Salt sourdough crackers, crushed into a coarse crumb
1 large clove garlic, peeled and kept whole
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
For the pangrattato, in a pan over a moderate heat add the 2 tbsp of olive oil along with the rosemary and the whole garlic clove cooking until fragrant, 1 – 2 minutes.
Add the crackers and stir over a moderate heat for 1 – 2 minutes more, until the crackers are well coated in the flavoured oil. Remove from the heat and put to one side on a plate lined with some kitchen paper.
In a pan over a moderate heat, cook the finely chopped garlic and dried chili for about 1 minute until sizzling and fragrant.
Add the cherry tomatoes and a big pinch of salt to taste and cook for around 3 – 5 minutes for the tomatoes to soften slightly. Remove from the heat and stir through with the tuna, olives, lemon zest and juice, chopped parsley and capers and put to one side.
Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions in well salted boiling water until al dente, keep a cup back of the salty slightly viscous pasta cooking water, you may need it. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the tuna and tomato sauce in the pan. Toss well to coat the spaghetti and add a slosh of the pasta cooking water to loosen the pasta if needed. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and chilli flakes, if necessary.
Serve bowls of the pasta strewn all over with the pangrattato, no cheese necessary!