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Pane Frattau recipe

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One of the authentic Sardinian recipes

Sardinia is a particular region. It has its own language – you cannot consider what Sardinian people speak a dialect. It has its own native animal and vegetal species due to the fact that is an island. We talked many times about it on this blog and we showed you its unique traditions. Despite this its regional food is very basic and genuine.

I had the chance first to live with a Sardinian girl and then to work on the island. These two experiences allow me to know deeply Sardinian culture and traditions. Above all the food (with my greatest pleasure!).

You have to consider that the region is 270 km long and 145 km wide therefore the same recipe could be done in many different ways depending on the area you are in. The same happens for Pane Frattau or Pane Vrattau. The recipe is typical of Barbagia, a mountain area stretching alongside the eastern coast of the island in the inland. Barbagia is the wildest area of Sardinia and the one I love most.

My best friend comes from there and she told me a lot of things about the culture of Barbagia. I have learnt how Sardinian are strongly connected to their land. For example the pastoral activities are still alive as well as the cheese production – pecorino sardo is one of the most renowned Italian cheeses.

When we lived together, she used to cook Sardinian specialties. Once she prepared the lunch telling me: “You are going to taste a very special dish of my land”. She was completely right. I still remember the flavour of Pane frattau and I would like to taste it again. Maybe when I will go to visit her one day.

So that I asked her help to write this article, because I couldn’t find enough material about Pane frattau origin as it has happened for other #FoodIS recipes. Actually she was surprised to find nothing special. She asked to some of her relatives and friends expecting to hear something particular but nothing. Actually maybe for her it is not so special, but not to me (and to you of course!).

Pane Carasau, the Sardinian bread

The main ingredient of Pane Frattau is Pane Carasau.

Pane means bread, but you have not to expect the common bread. Pane Carasau is a thin layer of bread. No crust, no soft inner part.

Carasau derives from the verb carasare, which means “to toast”. During sa carasadura (i.e. the toasting) the bread is backed for the final cooking. Please don’t call it carta da musica (i.e. music sheet), you will offend Sardinian people and they are not particularly understanding.

I really like Pane carasau because it is crunchy and tasty. Eating it with salami of Irgoli (a town of Baronia area) is pretty delicious!

The origin of Pane Frattau

As I told you, one of the most common activities in Sardinia is the breeding and traditions are connected with this. Pane Frattau is an example.

On Wikipedia (Italian version) 2 possible origins of this dish are mentioned:

  1. the few ingredients, due to the burst of World War II, farmers used to prepare the dish;
  2. when the Italian King Umberto I was visiting Sardinia, 2 women quickly prepared something to offer to the king. They grabbed what they could find, such as eggs, tomato sauce, basil, onion and Pane carasau.

Probably both of these theories are wrong.

The origin of Pane Frattau has to be searched in the farmer culture of the Sardinian people. For the poor everything is good to eat, also the little pieces remained in the pocket where the farmer put the Pane Carasau. In fact ‘frattau‘ means crumbled and all the crumbs were not thrown away but gathered to be eaten in a different way. Adding to the pieces egg, tomato sauce and grated cheese they cooked a rich dish with poor ingredients.

How to prepare Pane Frattau?

This authentic Sardinian recipe came back to ancient time.

Pliny the Elder stated that the bread dunked in water and olive oil has a curative power. Galen suggested cooked egg served on a bread slice for the sick persons. During the Middle Age people used slices of bread placed on cutting boards as a plate, so that the bread absorbed the gravy and the sauce of the foods put on it. Eggs have been used in the cuisine since ancient times, instead of tomato sauce used only starting from the late 18th century.

My friend told me that Pane Frattau is an alternative to a dish of pasta. Because pasta needs boiling water and you have to wait a long time before eating. For Pane Frattau you just need a pre-prepared tomato sauce or broth to pour on the pieces of Pane Carasau.

From an area to another ingredients can vary. Tomato sauce can be replaced by water or sheep broth. Not everywhere in Sardinia Pane Frattau is dressed with a poached egg, but everywhere people use grated pecorino cheese. For example in Siniscola you will eat sa suppa siniscolese (i.e. the Siniscola’s soup). They use pane lorigo, a typical ring-shaped bread of Siniscola, in place of Pane carasau.

Quite similar to Pane Frattau is Zuppa gallurese or Suppa cuata. It is typical of the Gallura area, in the north-western part of Sardinia, prepared with stale bread layers dunked in beef broth, eventually with sheep broth too, alternating them with green dairy cheese and also aged cheese. They can add herbs, like mint and wild fennel. It is considered one of the main dishes of a wedding breakfast.

Pane Frattau consists in a everyday dish very easy to prepare!

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Tourism is my world. Web marketing is my house. I put them together and I created my current job. I am a freelance and I am dealing with social media, blogging and online marketing especially in tourism field.

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2 Replies to “#FoodIS: Pane frattau”

  1. Hello, I was given a box of PERGAMENA NERA DI PANE GUTTIAU for Christmas. I had no idea what it was or what to do with it. I came across your Blog/Website and was immediately hooked. I am off to the shops today to get the ingredients to make Pane Frattau! Wish me luck…..

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