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Serves: 2 people

Ready In: 35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Recipe Summary:

A scaled down, back country version of a true Italian classic! Pangrattato aka 'poor mans parmesan' adds a salty, herby, delicious crunch that lifts the dish & is vegan friendly. A real crowd pleaser and perfect for larger groups too!

My version has two alternatives depending on the situation and time you have available. One version is simple & quick! A perfect on the road staple. The second, featuring the Pangratatto is great if you've got some extra time, or if you're off the bikes and cooking a group meal -- possibly at a warm showers host or similar?

Base Risotto:

  • 50 g dried mushrooms (porcini, chanterelle, shiitake all work well)
  • 100g arborio rice
  • 2 shallots or 1 small white onion
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 stock cube (vegetable or chicken)
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and black pepper

For the Pangrattato: “The Poor Mans Parmesan” (Optional)

  • 65g or small handful dried breadcrumbs (leftover bread ripped up works too)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 clove of garlic (raw)
  • 2 twigs of rosemary
  1. Add water to your largest pot & heat until boiling.
  2. Add dried mushrooms, remove from the heat & let soak for 10 minutes.
  3. While waiting for the mushrooms to soak, finely chop the onion(s) & fry them in olive oil until translucent.
  4. If you’re making the Pangrattato too, jump to the Pangrattato method in the next section. If not, carry on to step 5.
  5. Remove the mushrooms from the pot with a spork and gently squeeze to remove all their moisture.
  6. Roughly chop the mushrooms and add to the onion mixture.
  7. Crumble in the stock cube/powder to the mushroom broth/water.
  8. Add the rice (yup, all of it) and return the pot to the heat with the lid on until bubbling again.
  9. Once bubbling, turn the stove down to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
  10. After 20 minutes, add the mushroom & onion mix from the frying pan and mix them through the rice. 
  11. Season with salt & pepper & if you can, some lemon zest or juice to lift. 

To serve: Simply eat straight from the pot, or spoon out into individual bowls. Add the crunchy pangratatto & enjoy!

Pangrattato Method:

  1. Finely chop the garlic & rosemary (as fine as humanly possible).
  2. Add olive oil to a frying pan and once it starts to heat up add breadcrumbs.
  3. Fry over medium-high heat until they are crisp and golden.
  4. Remove the breadcrumbs from the pan to prevent them burning, seasoning generously with salt & pepper and then stir in the finely chopped garlic (raw), rosemary & lemon zest.
  5. Once you’re done here, head back to step 5 of the risotto method above and let your Pangrattato cool.


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  • Cheers for sharing Sam. If you’ve time, it’d be good to hear about what your pantry staples are and what equipment you use and why. I’m looking forward to cooking and eating this recipe and the others that’ll follow, hopefully. 😀👍🏻

    • Thanks Dermot! I’ll be doing a full kitchen and pantry rundown in the next couple of weeks. Essentially though, I try to keep a base stock of legumes, pulses & rice in my bike pantry, then I tend to grab what I can when I find it (Israeli couscous, Polenta etc) but it’s regional/country-specific. I find that the best way(s) to keep costs down whilst cycling is to buy and eat what’s seasonal, regional and native. Imported produce will always cost more, so I use it as a way to continually learn and push new recipes.

      Please let me know any feedback on the Mushroom Risotto recipe Dermot. I really appreciate your thoughts & support! Sam

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