Upon learning that packaged, pre-grated parmesan cheese from the supermarket might not be entirely made of cheese, some people have switched to buying their parmesan in blocks. Traditional blocks of Parmigiano-Reggiano lend much more flavor to a dish and give home cooks access to the cheese rind, which may have more uses than you think. The rind is the hard part at the edge of a chunk of cheese from a giant wheel; they are too hard to eat and, thus, often tossed in the trash. However, once you learn how a parmesan rind can upgrade a dish, you'll never want to throw one out again. Instead, pop them in the freezer and use them to flavor soups.
Saving your parmesan rinds to add to soup later is one great way to enhance your dish's flavor and take it from a cozy treat to something mind-blowingly delicious that tastes like a warm hug in a bowl. This works because the rind of a parmesan wheel picks up a lot of that nutty, salty flavor from the cheese without adding melty cheesiness. Therefore, parmesan rinds can be used in soups that already utilize parmesan cheese, such as minestrone, and in classically cheese-less soups, like chicken noodle.
How To Freeze And Use Parmesan Rinds
To store your leftover rinds, place them inside an airtight plastic bag and pop them in the freezer. Parmesan rinds will stay good for up to a year when frozen and can be removed anytime you feel like making homemade soup. Overall, the process is easy, and you don't have to thaw the rinds before adding them to your soup because the hot broth will do the work for you.
To extract the most flavor from your leftover rind, let it simmer in a pot of hot soup for at least 30 minutes; this is enough time for the rind to soften and release its delicious flavor into the broth. When done, remove what's left from the soup before serving. If the used rind is soft, you can even eat it! Contrary to popular belief, cheese rinds are edible -- and taste great. However, if the rind is still hard, you will probably need to throw it out.
Other Ways To Use Leftover Parmesan Rinds
As you may have already guessed, the usefulness of parmesan rinds doesn't stop at soup. You can flavor plenty of dishes with leftover parmesan rinds. For example, add them to a pot of pasta sauce for an extra flavorful batch of spaghetti and meatballs, or even add them to a jar of olive oil and let it sit for a few days for a parmesan-infused oil that is perfect for drizzling. You can also add a rind to the pot when cooking rice to take simple chicken and rice dishes -- or any rice dishes -- to the next level.
If you have enough rinds, you can even make a parmesan broth. Parmesan broth is a flavorful vegetarian alternative to chicken broth and can be made by simmering 1 pound of parmesan rinds in 8 cups of water. Of course, if you plan to make parmesan cheese the star of your dish, we recommend investing in fancy, aged cheese because the age of parmesan cheese dictates its flavor.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.