Pasta, potatoes and Grana Padano rind ‘soup’

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Pasta, potatoes and Grana Padano rind ‘soup’

Details

. Difficulty: Easy . Serves: 4 people . Preparation time: 30 minutes - 2 h –stock making included  . Variety: Pasta
During my childhood and my training as a chef, I was always told that ‘in the kitchen nothing should go to waste’. This constant preaching is something that can stay embedded into one’s brain and, in fact, it is now the way I conduct myself when in the kitchen, that be a professional one or my own.
Now, it is difficult to reduce waste to zero, let’s be honest, but we should always do our best to eliminate as much as possible. 
In Italy, we have multiple traditions from a past that is not that far away which can teach us how to stretch the most out of our ingredients and minimise waste. 
Take Grana Padano cheese for example. Using its rind to flavour soups, sauces or stocks is possibly the easiest and oldest way to make sure every part of this marvellous cheese is used. This isn’t a chef’s trick, rather a mum’s remedy .

Chef’s tip: When boiled in stock, the Grana Padano rind gives part of its flavour to the stock, but if you don’t mind its almost chewy and still very cheesy texture (I don’t, I actually love it), I suggest chopping it into small pieces and put it back into the soup at the final stage before serving. Delicious.

Ingredients

200 g of short pasta
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
20 g of unsalted butter
Cooked Grana Padano rind from the stock
1.5 l of Grana Padano stock
40 g of grated Grana Padano
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Grana Padano stock 
2 onions, 3 carrots and 2 celery stalks
700 g of Grana Padano rinds (as many as you have really)
Salt and pepper
4 l of water
1 bay leaf

Preparation

Start by making the stock. In a cold pot of water, slowly simmer the Grana Padano rinds along with the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer for 1.5 hours. When ready, remove the rinds and chop them into cubes while still hot, then filter the stock through a sieve.
In a pan, sweat the chopped onion with olive oil and a pinch of salt. When browned, add the butter and the chopped potatoes and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on. At this stage add enough Grana Padano stock to cover the potatoes and bring to boil. When the potatoes are soft, drop the pasta directly into the pan and keep cooking for the time suggested on the packet.
Stir every now and then while the pasta cooks and add Grana Padano stock as you go, making sure that the pasta is always covered.
When ready, add the chopped, cooked Grana Padano rind and remove from the stove. Give it a stir and let the remaining heat warm up the cheese rinds. Add a good handful of grated Grana Padano. Season to taste and stir well. Add hot stock only if it starts to dry out too much.
Plate straight away and garnish with chopped rosemary and extra grated Grana Padano.
Danilo Cortellini

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