This One Ingredient Is the Key to Perfect Soup

It turns out restaurant chefs have been using it forever.

February 21, 2020

Ribollita as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.

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I'm not the biggest soup lover, even in the winter. There. I said it. I think the main reason I'm not eager to cozy up with a big bowl is that I often find soup to be far too watery and lacking in overall flavor. No matter how many noodles, veggies and proteins in the broth, I end up leaving the table hungrier than when I first sat down.

It wasn’t until I watched Marc Murphy’s Ribollita class on the Food Network Kitchen app recently that I realized many of my lackluster soup recipes are missing a key ingredient: Parmesan cheese.

Yes, you read that correctly. According to chef Marc, Parmesan cheese, or more specifically its rind, makes all the difference when whipping together a pot of your favorite brothy creations. “You might find this a little crazy,” Marc says during the class right before he drops a thick Parmesan rind into a simmering pot of vegetable stock.

I have to be honest with you, I was very skeptical — “Won't it just disintegrate?” I remember thinking to myself after rewinding the video for the third time. But that’s exactly the point!

Though the Parmesan rind won't melt entirely, it will get super soft and break down. This not only infuses your broth with a powerful kick of umami, according to Marc, it'll also thicken the broth considerably, giving your soup a rich robust flavor that's impossible to resist. As a huge lover of Parmesan cheese, I couldn't help but be intrigued. I already knew Parmesan was amazing melted on top of baked pasta and breaded chicken cutlets; just imagine what it could do to a bowl of veggie-packed, bread-topped soup?!

I honestly can't wait to try the hack in everything from classic Chicken Noodle to hearty Minestrone soup and have even been saving Parmesan rinds in my freezer for the occasion. Who knows, this ingredient hack may win me over as a soup lover for good!

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