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No parmesan rinds...?

I've always wanted to give my tomato soups, pasta sauces, stews etc that unbelievable umami kick that comes from adding a parmesan rind or two to the stock.

The problem is, I just don't use parmesan enough to ever have any rinds lying around, and I'm hardly going to buy a big block of expensive cheese just to cut off and use what ought to be the 'leftover waste'! :D I wondered whether it would have the same effect if I grated parmesan directly into a stock or stuck in a block of non-rindy parmesan (i.e. the actual cheese) to simmer with the other ingredients, or would it melt and curdle and stick to everything and create a horrible dairy scum on the surface as I suspect it would?

Please, no suggestions to just 'use more parmesan' ;P

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  1. There are other ways to provide yourself with parmigiano rinds than to up your consumption of parmigiano. If you have a decent cheese monger, they might save you some pieces. You can trim the rind off the piece you're grating now (using a proper almond-shaped knife so that it breaks off) and cut it into pieces and use one at a time. You can keep the rest in the freezer.

    In the absence of a piece of rind, just grate the cheese onto the finished soup or stir it in shortly before serving. I wouldn't worry about undesirable side effects if you use a piece of cheese, but it would be an unusual thing to do. Actually, I haven't heard of the rind going into stock but rather into soup. Stock isn't even really an Italian thing. The basis of Italian soups is brodo. To make, say, minestrone, you combine vegetables and brodo and that is where you toss the piece of rind as they cook together.

    1. If you are close to a Wegmans grocery store, they sell parmesan rinds - about 3 small rinds to a plastic container in their cheese shop

      1. Rinds of other cheeses can also be used. Also, if you find that a badly-wrapped piece of cheese has hidden out in the hinterlands of your fridge until it's dried out, toss it into your simmering soup. Just be certain that it's actually rind, and not a wax or plastic coating.

        1. Most cheese shops will sell you any size piece of parm you desire. Get a small wedge, us the rinds for your soups, sauces and grate the rest as needed for pasta's etc. Parm also freezes well.

          1. Lots of Whole Foods are selling containers of parm rinds these days. Check in the cheese dept.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Splendid Spatula

              Yeah, all part of their sneaky special displays. To the shopper not paying attention, they think the cheese is on sale because it is piled high under a big sale sign. And selling rinds at $9 lb is not a value. And the cheese is $19.99 lb. They do the same thing with canned tomatoes - dominating the display with expensive oils and pastas. It's like a legal bait and switch to a distracted shopper.

              And why has parm gotten so expensive in the past few years? Have new import taxes been levied? Just a few years ago $9.99 lb was available on monthly sales.

            2. how can you not use very much parmesan?

              1 Reply
              1. re: FED

                Well...give me an example of how much you use!! :D

              2. Whenever I run out of rinds, I throw a piece of the non-rindy Parmesan into the soup, and it works great.The only reason rinds are specified in all the recipes is so as not to waste cheese that's usable for other things, I'm sure.

                I don't think grating it in at the end would have the same effect, just because I think having it there during the whole cooking process lets the flavor really soak out of it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: gildeddawn

                  It's worked for me- i used a smaller chunk, probably 2" square and just fished it out before serving the soup (and ate it as a delicious snack!)

                2. Thanks for all the shopping recommendations, guys - I'm based in Germany though :P

                  Will cheese shops really sell me rinds? Surely all the parmesan rind gets sold when people buy...well, wedges of parmesan?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Elster

                    Stores that grind or shred parmesan for sale will, by definition, have rinds. Not that it's a dealbreaker for this topic, but it is generally helpful for CHers living outside of the U.S. to mention their location in their posts. Saves people wasting effort on non-usable suggestions. 8>)

                    1. re: Elster

                      not sure how parm is sold in germany, but here in the states it's quite easy to buy 1/2-inch wedges. i go through one of those every couple weeks.

                    2. The idea of using Parmigiano Reggiano rind in another food preparation is to use every bit of the chunk cheese instead of discarding the rind when all of the cheese has been grated or eaten.

                      Mario Batali is the advocate of the Italian tenet that the Italians use every bit of every food item. Case in point is the cured meats known as salumi, the general Italian term for all kinds of sausage.

                      For example, my wife is devotee of roasted kale. She removes the midrib of each leaf before roasting the kale. I scavenge the midribs which I use in my preparation of a very thick minestrone. They are diced just like celery and added to the soup. I've been doing this for several years, and it has not killed me.

                      Buon appetito!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ChiliDude

                        I know, I think it's a great idea! But for every large wedge of parmesan, that might last me for up to 30 bowls of pasta or so, there is only one rind that I can use to flavour a broth, whereas I make broths much more than I eat pasta :S

                        It's like with stock - I'm sure you use chicken stock/broth far more often than you roast a chicken, right? But you can buy good chicken stock or bouillon these days. You wouldn't roast a whole goose specifically to have goose fat - but goose fat is so useful and delicious that you can buy it.

                        Problem is, where I live there aren't any stores I know of that openly sell cheese rinds, although I'd never thought to ask. The only thing that stops me having too much hope for this idea is that I've tried to buy fish offcuts from fishmongers before and been turned away... :(

                        1. re: Elster

                          I sympathize with your inability to find some ingredients. I assume that there is not a Wegmans supermarket in your area. It is a supermarket chain originating out of Rochester, NY. The stores have proliferated in the US Mid-Atlantic states. We have one within 3 miles of our home.

                          An Italian email friend of mine suggested a preparation of Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) to me. I live in the suburbs of a large metropolitan city and there are some eclectic supermarkets in the area, none of which sell Jerusalem artichokes.

                          1. re: Elster

                            You're unlikely to find rinds at a good cheese shop, because they cut the Parmesan in wedges and each customer buys the rind.

                            The rind tip is about making use of rinds when you have them, not because it's just so delicious that it's worth going to the trouble of trying to acquire them separately.

                            The only reliable way to try this is to go buy yourself a wedge of good Parmiggiano Reggiano and try it when you're down to the rind.

                            1. re: ellabee

                              It IS so delicious though! Best tomato soup ever!! :P

                        2. Dried Shitake Mushrooms

                          Easy to keep on hand