Parmesan Broth with Greens, Beans, and Pasta

Sara Jenkins

"The Four Seasons of Pasta"

You’ve sliced, shaved, and grated; and now you’re left with the sorry, tough end of your Parmesan wedge. As tempting as it might be to chuck this seemingly useless chunk in the trash, the far better place to toss the tidbit is in the nearest pot and make a soup, as Sara Jenkins does in this brothy pasta dish. This recipe works for whatever greens are in season, proving that preserving your Parmesan rind is a smart move all year long. Store any Parmesan rinds in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.


Homemade Chicken Stock:

  • 5 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion with peel, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 head garlic cut in half crosswise
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 leftover chicken carcasses
  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley (or stems from assorted soft herbs like parsley, dill, cilantro, etc.)
  • 1 cup dry white wine

Parmesan Broth with Greens, Beans, and Pasta:

  • 10 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock
  • 8 ounces Parmesan cheese rinds (about 6 to 8 rinds)
  • 1/2 cup dry soup pasta (such as ditalini, annelini, or orzo)
  • 1/2 cup cooked white beans
  • 4 cups loosely packed, tender cooking greens (such as spinach, chard, mustard greens, kale, or chicory), roughly cut into ¼- to ½-inch-wide ribbons
  • 1 lemon



Make the homemade chicken stock: combine the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and olive oil in a large stockpot or soup kettle and set over high heat. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken carcasses, parsley, wine, and just enough water to cover the chicken and vegetables (about 12 cups water).

Reduce the heat to medium-low. When the broth comes to a simmer, add 2 cups cold water (this technique will keep the stock cooking at a low simmer; the stock should never come to a rolling boil, as that simply redistributes impurities). Reduce the heat to low and allow the stock to gently simmer, checking every 1/2 hour or so to skim the surface of fat and add cold water as needed. The chicken and vegetables should always be barely covered with liquid. Cook until the stock is very rich, about 4 hours. You will have about 4 1/2 quarts, so freeze leftovers in 1-cup and 1-pint containers to have a supply always at the ready.

Strain the stock, discarding the vegetables and bones. Refrigerate the stock for 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months until ready to use.

Make the Parmesan broth with beans, greens, and pasta: in a large pot, combine the broth and cheese rinds and bring to a light simmer over extremely low heat. Simmer for about 2 hours, or until the broth has reduced to about 8 cups. Strain the broth through a sieve and discard the rinds.

Bring the broth back to a simmer and add salt to taste. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Add the cooked white beans and the greens. When the pasta is done, turn off the heat, taste, and adjust for seasoning. Grate the lemon zest directly over the pot and squeeze the lemon juice into the soup. Serve immediately.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.



4 to 6 servings

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