Good news! You can stop throwing away those hard, inedible rinds from hard cheeses like Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano. I’ve always been a little annoyed when I spent good money on a wedge of high-quality cheese, only to have to throw so much of it away in the form of the tough, waxy rinds. Now, however, I look forward to saving up as many as I can so I can put those rinds to good use!
Not only can you add a rind or two to a pasta sauce or soup as it cooks, but you can make a parmesan broth from the rinds themselves. Use the broth to cook pasta or gnocchi, use it in place of chicken broth in other recipes, or just enjoy its salty, nutty goodness on its own with whatever you want to add to it.
It’s easy to stockpile leftover cheese rinds in a freezer-safe plastic bag in the freezer and just add more rinds to your stash whenever you use up a wedge of cheese. When you get enough rinds (or run out of room in the bag), take them out and make this savory broth.
Parmesan Broth (Parmesan Brodo)
6 ounces Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds
1 quart water (4 cups)
1 bay leaf (optional)
Place the rinds in a saucepan and cover them with water. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent the rinds from sticking to the bottom. Reduce heat to simmer, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor will be.
Pour the broth through a strainer and discard the melted cheese rinds. Store broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for later.
Note: making this broth is not an exact science and does not require exact measurements. The quantities above just reflect how I made mine. Basically, just cover the rinds with water and simmer at least 30 minutes. Feel free to adjust the rind-to-water ratio to suit your palate, which is what I did when I loosely followed the recipe from A16: Food + Wine.
Step by Step Details
Adjust the recipe for as many rinds as you have on hand. I’d been saving mine for quite a while, so I ended up tripling this basic recipe.
Place the rinds in a saucepan and cover them with water.
Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent the rinds from sticking to the bottom.
As you might expect, the cheese gets pretty melty and gooey as the water heats up.
Simmer uncovered for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer it simmers, the more the flavor will develop.
Pour the broth through a strainer and discard the melted cheese rinds. Trust me: there’s no flavor left in those!
Store the broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week or freeze for later. Use the broth as you would use any other broth.