In Italian kitchens, the stock is a staple recipe with several uses.
All the broths share the same main ingredients and preparation method: water, vegetables (almost always the base is one stick of celery with the leaves, one skinless white onion, and one whole carrot), and salt.
Then, there is the ingredient that gives a specific taste.
Again, for both, the cooking is slow: once it comes to an initial boil, it should immediately be put on low, with the lid just cracked, and never come to a complete boil again. Also, it should never be stirred with a spoon.
During the long, slow simmering process, the ingredients transfer substances and sigh words into the water that transform the liquid into something versatile and flavorful that you can sip au naturel or add a great cook’s touch to other dishes.
For me, broth is a dish of comfort, also perfect to waste. It is a dish that reminds me of the joy of waiting for things.
I associate the scent of the stock pot with holidays and Sunday lunches.
I remember its embracing essence released from the kitchen in the early morning.
And once I entered, the water vapor on the window transformed the kitchen into a cozy cocoon.
The stock pot
In Italy, from region to region and from home to home, the composition of the stock pot changes.
On the blog, you can find recipes from my home, tested by decades of stock pots and which, over time, I have shared with many friends and blog readers.
Meat stock, the traditional recipe
The one from the Emilia-Romagna tradition calls for beef and bones, chicken leg, celery, carrot, and onion.
Usually, no bay leaves, juniper berries, or pepper grains are needed (unless family traditions differ).
It is a flavorful broth to cook stuffed pasta, such as tortellini. In that pot, cook also some meat for hours. It will become a succulent piece of boiled meat that people call bollito and eat as a main dish.
In Emilia-Romagna, the broth of the valuable, fatty, and delicate capon is for Christmas Day and festivities.
Do not put capon in the pot with a piece of beef; the latter ends up overpowering the gentle flavor of the former. This holiday stock wants only capon, celery, carrot, onion, and one or two beef bones.
There is a light broth that is also quick to make, and it is perfect for when you are short on time or have a patient at home to comfort. It is hen broth, poignantly delicate. And for the past few years, my favorite. Chicken broth is similar to hen stock, but the latter is better (for me).
In Italy, a saying reminds us that an old hen makes good broth.
It is a traditional country dish that belongs to my family tradition and the area where I was born and raised.
Today, it is a forgotten recipe that deserves a chance. Bean broth pot is a vegetarian, tasty, and affordable preparation.
Last but not least. I mention it last even though it is the one I prepare most often.
The ingredients, time by time, change following the seasons. Besides, its flavor shifts depending on what I want to use it for. On the blog, I shared a list of flavor combinations and the basic recipe.
Parmigiano stock recipe
For its delicate flavor and quick preparation, give it a chance.
In addition to Parmigiano rinds, you can make it using even one beef bone.
Otherwise, you can fill the pot following the version “from when there was nothing but a cheese rind and water,” so grandmother told the recipe. It used to be the pot of lean, and those days when the pantry offered just a couple of ingredients.
My version of Parmigiano stock is light.
It is the delicate and satisfying one made only with the rinds that, usually, are for the waste.
I find them for free at my delicatessen shop or the butcher (because he uses Parmigiano in its preparation).
Parmigiano does not undergo any chemical process, which makes its rind perfectly edible.
You only need to wash the Parmigiano rinds and grate away the written part. If you choose unmarked pieces, clean them and start to cook.
The Parmigiano stock is what you need for passatelli, Zuppa Imperiale, or a filled pasta such as cheese cappelletti. Or to flavor risotto and sides.
You can make pasta sauce using the leftovers from the pot, soft rinds, and vegetables. The method to make it is unbelievably easy. Chop everything with a knife. Cook in the pan, adding olive oil and some tomato paste for ten minutes.
Buona cucina, Monica
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- 200 g of Parmigiano rinds Choose not imprinted rinds. If you have a printed part, scrape the surface with the help of a grater or knife to remove the written.
- 50 g of celery stalk with leaf
- 50 g of carrot
- 20 g of leek or shallot
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 l cold water
- 20 g of salt
- Wash the Parmesan rinds under running water (read the instructions I wrote in the Ingredients section).
- Wash celery and carrot and set aside.
- In a large, high-sided pan, place Parmesan rinds, celery, carrot, leek, bay leaves and salt.
- Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
- Low the heat and cook on a small stove for two hours. Cover the pot almost entirely with a lid.
- Turn off, remove vegetables and rinds from the broth, and strain using a sieve.
- Pour into a bottle or glass jar and store in the refrigerator for about a week. You can also freeze for up to a month. In this case, remember not to fill the jar to the rim because as it freezes, the liquid expands.