Grate Parmesan Rinds Into Mac And Cheese To Avoid Waste

If you've been tossing your Parmesan rinds into the bin because you don't know what to do with them, we've got a great tip to help you use them up and avoid food waste in one hassle-free move. Try grating them into your next batch of mac and cheese to make the ultimate super-savory, satisfying dinner.

But we hear what you're saying; aren't Parmesan rinds too tough to cook with? Well, it helps to imagine them to be a bit like the ends of a loaf of bread — they're safe to eat, super-flavorful, and darker in color, but yes, their texture is also dense and tough. This firm consistency means Parmesan rinds don't crumble in the same way as the main body of the cheese, which is softer and can be broken into pieces, shredded, or chopped with ease. However, with a little elbow grease and a quality grater, you can still grate Parmesan rinds into your mac and cheese successfully to intensify its cheesy taste and boost its savory flavor profile. This is because Parmesan contains an amino acid called glutamate, which imparts that satisfying umaminess to the taste buds, that's also found in cured meats, shellfish, miso, and anchovies. Furthermore, when combined with Cheddar, Gruyere, or Gouda, the Parmesan somehow deepens the characteristic qualities of each cheese, resulting in a richer product.

A rasp-style grater makes it easier to shred hard Parmesan rinds

Using a rasp-style microplane grater, instead of a traditional box grater, is a great way to finely shred your Parmesan rinds directly into your hot mac and cheese. This variety of grater has super-sharp, tiny blades that are positioned nearby, which produces thinner strands of rind that can seamlessly melt into the sauce. Moreover, because you can firmly grip the handle of a rasp grater, it's easier to bear down on the Microplane element and shred the hard rind with the extra force required. Of course, grating the rinds straight into the pan also makes for a neater, more organized kitchen with less cleanup afterward.

If your Parmesan rind is particularly tough because it has dried out in the fridge, you can give it a whizz in a food processor to create a pulverized cheesy powder instead of using a grater. Simply sprinkle it into your mac and cheese, stir, and allow the fine shreds to melt before topping with more cheese and baking. That way you'll still be able to use every last flavorful bit of your Parmesan wedge and feel uber-smug about eliminating food waste. You can also freeze your Parmesan rinds for later if you don't have an immediate use for them or pop them straight into soups and stews to imbue them with a deeper savory note.