I'd like to introduce you to one my new favorite fridge buddies... Parmesan broth. Whoever had the genius idea of making broth out of parmesan cheese rinds should be up for a nobel prize (lookin' at you, Claire Saffitz). Not even kidding. This stuff's a total game changer; a flavor bomb that you can add to sauces, soups, risotto, pastas, polenta or just about any place you think a broth-y shot of extra flavor might be in order. And you paid for those rinds, you know. Why not use them?
You've got a bunch of them in your freezer, right? Well, I didn't either, so I started collecting them and once I had 1/2 pound stashed away, I halved the recipe and made me some broth. Now I'm determined to collect a pound of them and make a full batch. Even though there's just the two of us, we go through a lot of parmesan cheese, so it feels kinda do-able. I buy the monster-beast-size reggiano wedge at Costco and cut off hunks to grate in the food processor when we need it. Bonus #1 is that we never, ever run out of parmesan, and Bonus #2 is I get lots of rind action to make broth.
This stuff tastes like magic but there's no actual magic involved here (maybe just a touch of alchemy). All you must do is throw a bunch of stuff in a pot... parsley, parm rinds, a little wine, some onions, garlic, some thyme, some black peppercorns. Let it simmer for a couple of hours, and in the duration enjoy the aromas of parmesan cheese being transformed into some very tasty broth.
After you drain it, just stash some in the fridge and some in the freezer or pour it into an ice cube tray, freeze that, and pull out cubes of it to use in the aforementioned dishes or anytime a hit of parmesan flavor seems relevant to the moment, which I dare say will be often. So start collecting your rinds and stayed tuned... in our next post we'll be featuring a very tasty way to use our parmesan broth. Here's the recipe...
The recipe calls for a pound of Parmesan rinds, which admittedly would take a while to save up, so feel free to make a half recipe at a time. It freezes beautifully, and as I mentioned, using an ice cube tray means you can conveniently pull out just as much as you need. I made a half batch and didn't reduce it down quite as far as half (I partially covered it as it simmered). From 4 cups of water, I ended up with 2 3/4 cups of broth. Also, I felt like like it needed a little salt to really bring out the parmesan flavors, so feel free to add a little to the finished broth.
Recipe from Bon Appetit
Makes about 4 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
1 bunch thyme
1 bay leaf
3–4 parsley sprigs
1 teaspoon black peppercorns (I used double this)
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound Parmesan rinds
(salt as desired; I used between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt per cup of broth)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, and peppercorns, stirring often, until garlic is deep brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook, scraping up any brown bits, until liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
Add Parmesan rinds and 8 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent cheese from sticking to bottom of pot, until broth is flavorful and reduced by half, about 2 hours (see headnote).
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl (or an airtight container if making ahead). Salt as desired and cool completely before freezing.