Serves a Crowd

Pangrattato Pasta With Pepperoni

May 21, 2019
11 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Want to win dinner tonight? Blanket your pasta in hearty, spicy, fiery-red pepperoni pangrattato. It's my totally unorthodox version of the classic Italian garnish. The whole dish comes together easily: Make the pangrattato while the water heats. Prepare the sauce while the spaghetti cooks. Top each bowl with the spicy crumbs. In under 20 minutes, dig in at the table. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • For the pasta:
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • For the pepperoni pangrattato:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 ounces pepperoni (either pre-sliced or the type sold in sticks), medium chop
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley (well-dried to keep the crumbs crispy)
  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and spaghetti; cook until al dente according to package directions. (Note that you'll reserve the pasta water; see step 4.)
  2. While the water is heating, make the pangrattato: Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the pepperoni. Cook, stirring, until it starts to render its fat, about 1 to 2 minutes, then add the panko. Stir to evenly coat the panko in the rendered fat. Continue cooking until the crumbs are golden brown and the pepperoni is crispy, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon zest and parsley.
  3. While the spaghetti cooks, prepare the sauce: heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, cooking until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high; add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 cup water to the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the volume has reduced by half.
  4. Using tongs or a pasta ladle, transfer the spaghetti directly into the skillet. Add more lemon juice (start with 1 to 2 teaspoons and go from there!) and more pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce, tossing well to evenly coat the noodles. Add the Parmesan and toss again.
  5. Serve in bowls and top with the pepperoni pangrattato and more Parmesan, if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Dariusz
  • FrugalCat
  • Megan
  • renee
  • Rhonda35

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

13 Reviews

Dariusz December 19, 2023
Nice. Crunchy, tasty, simple. Will make it again in the future.
FrugalCat March 5, 2020
Loved this. Made it with whole wheat shells. This was perfect with a side of spinach for dinner. The pepperoni made it just "meaty" enough that my old-fashioned husband accepted it as a main dish instead of a side dish.
EmilyC March 6, 2020
So happy to know you tried and liked this! Thanks for your note, FrugalCat!
Megan July 1, 2019
I loved this.. although the lemon overpowered the pepperoni flavor a bit. Next time, I might reduce the zest in the pangrattato. I loved the crunchy texture, but my husband not so much. More for me!
Pru S. June 24, 2019
Absolutely delicious! We have continued to chat about this for days now! Thank you so much.
EmilyC June 24, 2019
So happy you liked this! Thanks so much for your note!
renee June 22, 2019
I just made this and thought it was wonderful!! I did make one change. As I was reaching for the Parmesan cheese to add I looked at the artichoke spinach dip I had. Mixed that in instead ~ yum~ Then as I was eating it I thought next time I might add asparagus to the water and garlic. The pepperoni topping was different and we really liked it. Thank you for the inspiration!
EmilyC June 23, 2019
All great ideas—and so glad you liked it!! Thanks Renee!
Melissa June 19, 2019
Wonderful! My husband loved it, it’s going in the rotation. I love the lemon but if your family is not as big just back off on the juice a little. I went by the book this time but if making for my kids (knowing their taste) I would reduce slightly.
EmilyC June 20, 2019
Yay, so glad you liked it! And yes, good point about the lemon (best to start with less and then add more, to taste!). Thanks for your note, Melissa!
Rhonda35 May 27, 2019
Doesn't this sound delicious! Can't wait to give it a try.
EmilyC June 3, 2019
Thanks Rhonda! I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard of pangrattato until I saw your recipe years ago, so I owe you a thank you for opening my eyes to its deliciousness. : )
Rhonda35 August 21, 2019
I've made this several times this summer - SO good!