This recipe for lasagna soup is a fantastic way to make use of leftover Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds. The recipe is written for one serving, but it’s easy to scale up if you have a lot of cheese rinds stashed away. There are fancier preparations out there for Parmigiano broth, but you’ll be amazed at how much flavor you can extract from the rinds alone. This soup would be great with ground pork or sausage—or mushrooms for a vegetarian version. The nutmeg recalls a lasagna made with bechamel and adds depth, while cooking the noodles in the broth adds body. It all adds up to a hearty delicious soup that’s a lot less work than a whole lasagna.
- 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
- 3 cups water
- 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 whole cherry tomatoes
- 2 ounces ground beef
- 1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- 1 pinch freshly ground fennel seed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 ounces stracci Toscani pasta
- 2 pieces fresh mozzarella ciliegine, sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
- Olive oil for drizzling
Gather the ingredients.
Put the Parmigiano rinds and water in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pot with a lid and simmer for about 4 hours, or until rinds are very soft and the broth tastes strongly of Parmigiano. Remove the cheese rinds. Add the pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
In a dry skillet over high heat, blister the cherry tomatoes until they split open. The skin may blacken in certain spots. Remove tomatoes from pan and set aside.
Add a little olive oil to the same pan, followed by the ground beef. Reduce heat to medium. Brown well.
Add the onion, garlic, oregano, and fresh ground fennel seed (use a mortar and pestle, or just grind the seed between a cutting board and the bottom of a small sauté pan until all the fennel is cracked). Return tomatoes to the pan. Sauté until onions have softened, then remove from heat. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the Parmigiano broth to a boil. Add the pasta. If the broth doesn’t cover the pasta, then add a little water until it does. If necessary, cover the pot as the pasta cooks to keep the liquid from over-reducing. Meanwhile, place the ground beef and tomato mixture in the bottom of a bowl.
When the pasta is al dente, check the seasoning of the broth once more, then pour pasta and hot broth into the bowl over the beef and tomatoes.
Nestle the mozzarella pieces in the soup. Top with a dollop of ricotta and a drizzle of olive oil. Add fresh ground pepper and grated Parmigiano is desired. Serve immediately.
- The Parmigiano broth can be made in a crockpot overnight. When ready to make soup, remove the rinds and proceed with recipe. Pasta can be cooked in a crock pot. Just turn it to the high setting.