Giada De Laurentiis has a not-very-well-kept secret stashed in her culinary arsenal that will transform some of your favorite recipes. And as we launch into soup season, the timing couldn't be more perfect for this big reveal.
Take it from Giada De Laurentis: The best thing you can do for this upcoming season of hearty soups and stews is to become a Parmesan rind hoarder.
Parmesan rinds are a kind of waxy culinary gold that could be accidentally hanging out in your garbage. When asked about the three foods she always keeps in her pantry, Giada put this under-the-radar kitchen scrap at the top of her list.
"So overlooked, these little end pieces of cheese carry a lot of flavor!" The TV personality recently told TODAY.
A chunk of Parmesan in your broth will offer a serious hit of umami. The deep, rich flavor is never overpowering and gives a sturdy backbone to any soup. I use Parmesan rinds in everything from chicken broth to hearty black bean stews. Giada includes rinds in pasta dishes, like her basic Parmesan pomodoro and her tortellini in Parmesan brodo.
This is an easy trick to incorporate into your cooking routine. And unlike pricey specialty ingredients, it may already be waiting for you in your fridge. When you pick out Parmesan, find a chunk that offers maximum rind. Cut the rind off, then store it in the fridge. Parmesan will keep for a while, so don't worry if you can't use it right away. You can also freeze Parmesan rinds for a future pop of flavor.
If you don't use Parmesan all that often, cheese shops and cheese counters usually offer rinds for sale. If you don't see them, just ask; they may have some stashed away.
It's getting chilly. Your stock pot is calling your name. Now that you've got a stash of Parmesan rinds and Giada's culinary blessing, add some extra flavor to these classic cozy soups.