Ryan Hardy, Little Nell, Apsen, Colorado
Hardy was inspired to create this broth from centuries-old Italian recipes, "where waste was simply not in the lexicon." While the base for the broth is just leftover cheese rinds cooked in water, "the sum total is worth a hundred times the value of its ingredients," Hardy says. "The result is so rich and intense, yet versatile enough to match any seasonal ingredient list with ease." In the spring, he adds cooked artichokes, fava beans, and poached farm eggs to create a soup at Little Nell.
MAKES ABOUT 3 QUARTS
3 pounds Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds
1 gallon water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds prosciutto scraps, ends, and skins, chopped or ground
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves
1 head of fennel, diced
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
4 ounces fresh basil
In a heavy bottomed pot, combine the cheese rinds and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove stock from the heat and let steep for two hours.
While the stock is resting, warm the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed, six- to eight-quart pot. Add the prosciutto, onion, garlic, fennel, chile flakes, and basil; cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the ingredients on the bottom of the pot begin to caramelize and stick. (This is called a fond.)
Strain the stock and pour it over the caramelized vegetables and prosciutto. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid; use the broth as a foundation for various seasonal soups as you would a rich stock.
CHEATS: You can find rinds of Parmigiano-Reggiano in specialty food or cheese shops-often for free. The prosciutto scraps can be found at any good butcher shop or meat counter.
DO-AHEAD: Save your Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds as you acquire them in cooking by storing them in the freezer in a resealable bag.