Dear Noelle, I don't make homemade manicotti shells. I buy my shells imported from Italy at an Italian store. But,…
Buongiorno and welcome to Lisa’s Italian Kitchen! Today we’re going to learn how to make the perfect homemade croutons.
So, here I have a variety of Italian breads all of which are wonderful to use for croutons. For example here I have a nice thick italian country rustic, we have our classic baguette or fulani which makes a crunchier crouton then we have our ciabatta which is a classic italian sandwich bread. Flat is ciabatta means slipper in Italian which is why it has this shape and then we have another nice thick country rustic Italian. All of these breads make wonderful croutons.
Depending on which bread you use, you’re going to get a different texture. In the winter you may want to use the country rustic Italian which makes a hardier, thicker crouton to top your minestrone or any other soup and in the summer I like to use the Fulani or the baguette to make a lighter, crunchier crouton for my salads.
So it’s very simple to make your own croutons I just begin with, let’s start today with half of a Fulani or baguette and I simply cube the bread. Of course remember always when you’re cutting Italian bread to use a bread knife. The bread knife is a nice strong serated knife because it makes it easier to cut your bread and easier to get a uniform pieces.
So I just cut up right up to the crust and you can make them big or small, whichever you prefer, and I put them in a big glass bowl or any bowl that you have. See it’s it they’re nice and getting crunchy already because this is a day-old loaf of bread. So it’s always better to use bread that’s a little old. Of course our Italian bread has no preservatives, no additives, no shelf life extenders so by the next day it’s perfect for making croutons. Nice and crunchy.
So I just slice my pieces in half like this. After they’re in the bowl, what I’m going to do is flavor them with two things that I love to use on my croutons. Of course first of all, extra virgin olive oil. So I just take the bread, take a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and coat the bread well because I’m going to add some seasonings and I want them to stick to the bread.
So you might want to apply one coat of extra virgin olive oil and then toss it to make sure all the pieces of bread are well covered. Maybe add a little more. And now we’re going to add garlic and salt and a little parsley. So just you can buy any type of garlic salt that’s already at your supermarket or you can make it yourself by buying the dehydrated garlic and then adding some nice Sicilian sea salt and some fresh parsley.
So just sprinkle a little bit of that on to the chopped croutons and then we’re going to toss this well. Very simple and you know what I love about making my own croutons is I know exactly the ingredients that I’m using. I know the type of bread that I either bake or purchase and then I know exactly the flavorings or seasonings that i’m adding.
You know maybe you might want to add a little flavor to olive oil. Like basil or lemon in the summer. Or maybe hot spicy olive oil with crushed red pepper. Depending on what you’re going to be using the croutons for, there are a variety of different types that you can make.
Now I just place the chopped croutons and seasoned croutons onto a baking sheet. I like to use a Silpat on my baking sheet because it prevents them from sticking but you could you also use parchment paper or put them right onto the baking sheet itself.
Then I just take my baking sheet of chopped croutons, I put it in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes and you get golden brown crunchy delicious croutons to use on any one of your favorite Italian recipes.
Buon appetito! Ciao!