Corn + Parmesan Broth
Corn + Parmesan Broth with Pasta

When you cut the kernels off of a corn cob (like maybe for this summer shrimp pasta), what do you do with the cobs?  Most likely you throw them away, or perhaps you’re a good citizen and compost them.  But either way, it’s a shame to toss them because they still hold a ton of flavor!  You can simmer the corn cobs by themselves, or you can take it to the next level with parmesan rinds and aromatics.  If you’re not in the regular habit of buying blocks of parmesan, many stores now sell the rinds (at a reduced per pound price).  You might even get lucky and get some for free if you ask behind the deli counter.  If you have leftover parmesan rinds but you’re not ready to make broth yet, wrap and freeze them until you’re ready!

This broth makes a great base for soups and chowders, adds depth to grits or grains (use in place of water), or can elevate a simple pasta dish (as pictured).  I like to freeze some of the broth in ice cube trays, then move the cubes to a freezer safe bag; this allows me to add anywhere from a few tablespoons to a few cups of the broth to dishes without having to thaw it out all at once.

Corn + Parmesan Broth

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: about 1.5 quarts (6 cups)

Ingredients

3-5 corn cobs, kernels removed

¼ pound parmesan rinds

1 medium onion, quartered (peel optional)

3-5 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

salt (optional)

Instructions

    In a large pot, add all ingredients and cover with 2 quarts (8 cups) water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours (or more). Season with salt to taste if desired.

    Let broth cool slightly, then strain and discard solids. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for use within a few days. Otherwise, freeze in straight-sided containers or ice cube trays (see headnote) for later use.

Notes

The longer the cooking time, the more concentrated the flavors become. If you choose to simmer for more than a couple hours, you may want to add more water (depending on how well your pot lid traps in the steam/condensation).

To make this recipe in a slow cooker, add all ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4.

You can make just corn broth without the parmesan and/or aromatics. You only need to simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour for good corn flavor. Similarly, you can make plan parmesan broth without the corn cobs.

The parmesan will likely stick to the bottle of your pot. That's totally fine and normal, just FYI.

The rinds of other hard cheeses like pecorino and asiago work well, too (even all together!).

A small amount of fat will accumulate from the cheese. The easiest way to remove it is to refrigerate the broth, and then skim the solidified fat off the top.

Hardy herbs such rosemary, thyme, and sage are all great additions.