If you love the earthy, nutty, salty, umami packed flavor of fresh parmesan, then you’ve surely done your best to grate a chunk of parmesan down to the rind and get every last bit. But what do you do with leftover parmesan rinds? While I’ve heard some people eat them, I prefer to make them into an intense parmesan rind stock.
Parmesan cheese is one of those rare foods that’s packed with an unusually high amount of umami – that amazing substance that makes the back of your mouth water and with a indescribable flavor. Other foods that stack up high in umami are tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, black olives and aged beef.
What to do With Leftover Parmesan Cheese Rinds
To make a really intense parmesan rind broth, you’ll need about 1 pound of parmesan rinds. For the best parmesan stock, you’ll want to use true Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. These are the slices that come from those huge 80 pound wheels and they have a very hard rind that’s actually stamped with the word “Parmigiano”.
By using an aged, imported Parmigiano Reggiano, you’re going to get the most flavor. If you use a packaged parmesan cheese that came from anywhere else, it’s not really worth the effort.
Given the street price of authentic parmesan, unless you are working in a commercial kitchen, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a full one pound of leftover parmesan rinds in a single evening. Even if you’re preparing a huge salad, such as this Arugula and Beet Salad with Barley and Parmesan, you may only end up with a few ounces of parmesan rinds. Fear not, as parmesan rinds can be kept in an airtight bag in the freezer until you have enough.
Another great option is to buy the actual rinds. Many grocers that sell large amounts of parmesan cheese, and grate their own to sell in store, will sell their leftover parmesan rinds by themselves. Our local Whole Foods always has plenty of parmesan rinds available that have been ground down to the nub and go for a fraction of the price.
What to do with Parmesan Broth
For a couple of years, bone broths were all the rage. Bone Broth lunch spots were popping up all over Chicago, New York and San Francisco along with a fair amount of confusion as to whether people were paying more than normal for essentially a bowl of beef stock. It turns out there is a difference, when done right, as bone broth involves a much longer simmering time using roasted bones.
And that extended cooking time with roasted bones is what created a veritable explosion of umami that makes it so delicious. The amazing thing about Parmesan Broth is that you can use it in all sorts of places where you’d normally use water – and wouldn’t normally use beef stock.
Think of soup bases. If you’re a vegetarian and making a vegetable soup, then you’re not going to use chicken stock, beef stock or bone broth. This is where the parmesan broth comes in really handy.
It’s also a killer way to make an intensely flavored risotto and for cooking pasta. Wherever you use it, you’ll find an unmistakeable and hard-to-describe amount of delicious that wasn’t there before.
How to Make Parmesan Rind Stock
Like any stock or broth, parmesan rind stock can be made in any large soup pot that can hold at least 8 cups of water. Though, my preferred method (due to speed) is to use a Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot. You’ll take the simmer time from 4-6 hours down to 1 hour when making parmesan broth in a pressure cooker. I’m a huge fan of saving crazy amounts of time with a pressure cooker and have many more recipes that are ideal for your Instant Pot.
Be sure that your pressure cooker is large enough to hold this much liquid. For reference, I have a 10 quart pressure cooker from Fagor that fits it all without any issue. It’s available here on Amazon. For smaller vessels, scale down the recipe appropriately.
Naturally, if you want to crank up the umami level even more, add more foods high in umami. Mushrooms and asparagus would be great choices. Given that both have their own legion of strong supporters and major detractors, I don’t use them here in my core recipe. You’re definitely free to substitute, add and subtract based on your personal preferences.
Turn leftover parmesan cheese rinds into an intense, umami packed parmesan rind stock that's perfect for pasta, risottos, soup base and more.
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Large Yellow Onion Chopped
- 1 Fennel Bulb Sliced
- 1 Garlic Bulb Peeled and Chopped
- 1 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 Pound Parmigiano-Reggiano Rinds
- 1/4 Cup Parsley Leaves stems are OK
- 1/4 Cup Rosemary Sprigs stems are OK
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 7 Cups Water
Add the Olive Oil to your cooking vessel over medium heat and sauté the onion and fennel for about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the garlic, and continue to cook gently for another 7-9 minutes until the onions are translucent. Take care not to brown the garlic as that will make the stock slightly bitter.
Add the cup of wine, increase the heat to medium and reduce it by about 2/3 until it's thick and syrupy. This will take 10-20 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir until it's all well integrated. Seal your pressure cooker, raise the heat and cook for 1 hour. (in a traditional pot, simmer covered for 4 hours)
Strain the mixture in a large colander before storing. The parmesan broth can be refrigerated for up to 1 week and stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.