My family lives by the rule that there must be a hunk of Parmegiano Reggiano on hand at all times. Grate a little on scrambled eggs or on the dullest of pastas and you’re suddenly a lot more excited about the meal you’re about to eat. Keeping up with my family’s Parmegiano habit is a bit of a splurge, but we’ll gladly make room in our grocery budget any day of the week. [PS: If you don’t already have a microplane grater, go out and get one. It’s great for making fluffy, ethereal piles of granted Parmegiano — awesome for lemon zest too].
Parmegiano rinds themselves are a rather magical ingredient. When you come upon them rock hard and abandoned in some far corner of your refrigerator it might seem tempting to toss them, but curb those impulses — Parmegiano rinds are umami gold! They are my #1 go to fix-it ingredient whenever I make a soup or a pasta sauce that’s somewhat lacking. When a flavor crisis arises, just throw in a cheese rind and then sit back, let it simmer and you’ll coax out a flavorful, complex saltiness that can cure even the biggest case of the blahs.
My friend Becky told me she requests Parmegiano Reggiano rinds from her local cheese monger and gets them on the cheap. We seem to eat Parmegiano like it’s going out of style so we always have a rind or two on hand, but I may just need to try that trick one of these days.
In case you needed more inspiration for saving those cheese rinds, here are a few ingenious ideas that I know you’re going to want to try. Enjoy!
- Check out this LA Times times piece about cheese brodo, or broth, made out of nothing more than cheese rinds and water and a bay leaf from Chef Nate Appleman’s A16 Cookbook (the ratio is 2 quarts water, 6 ounces cheese rinds, 1 bay leaf ).
- Lidia Bastianich shares a potato and rice soup recipe that features a Parmegiano Reggiano rind as the key flavoring. You know that’s going to be good on a cold winter’s evening.
- Can I tempt you with balsamic-glazed roasted chicken stuffed with Parmegiano Reggiano rinds and proscuitto? Mario Batali… now that’s just plain brilliant!
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