If life gives you lemons you are supposed to make lemonade right? What do you do when someone hands you 3 enormous blocks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese? Well I make Alfredo, Parmesan Crisps, Risotto, and Parmesan rind broth and basically grate it on anything and everything I want.
A couple of weeks ago a friend showed up with 3 blocks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for me to do with how I please. I truly was dumbfounded. Firstly how I was so lucky? Secondly how much did they get that they could share? A VERY good friend of theirs sent them a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for Christmas. I couldn’t imagine sending or receiving such an extravagant gift. That’s a good friend to keep!
I put one of the blocks into my food processor and came out with 12 cups of grated cheese. Just to have on hand; I remember when I was a kid the green canister of grated “cheese” in the fridge was the standard. My children grew up with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano; spoiled I tell you, just plain spoiled. With no green canister in our lives what to do with all the rinds; I used to just throw them in the trash. For several years now I have been saving the rinds of the “tiny”(well; now) blocks of Parm. and put them in my risotto and soups and sauces to add additional flavor to the broths. I recently read about making broth with Parmigiano Reggiano rinds. I have always used chicken broth for risotto but I am SO going to use the rind broth and probably; well at least for a few months use nothing else for soups, stews and my creamy salty risotto.
Parmesan crisps – on a baking sheet lined with parchment or better yet a Silpat
mound a tablespoon full of grated cheese and flatten each a bit. Bake at 325’F for 5-6 minutes.
Simple Alfredo Sauce – 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper. In a sauce pan melt butter. Add heavy cream and simmer (do not boil) for 3-5 minutes. remove heat and add grated cheese and pepper.
Serve over fettuccine noodles or spinach ravioli like I did.
Parmigiano Reggiano rind broth – 8 quarts of cold water, 7-8 cheese rinds, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 3 bay leaves and 1 teaspoon thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Strain over a large bowl. It will keep in the fridge for 3 days or break up into smaller containers and freeze for a few months.
I personally wouldn’t make just a rind soup; I really didn’t like the taste of the plain broth but using it added a rich depth of flavor to risotto and using it as a braising liquid is just plain heavenly.