Parmesan cheese rinds (which can be frozen for up to two months) add an enormous amount of deep, rich flavor to this hearty vegetable stew.
Quick Vegetable Main Dishes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds (about 2 ounces each)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound small white button mushrooms, stemmed and caps quartered
1 pound small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 large leek, white and tender green parts only, quartered lengthwise and cut
into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 ounces capellini, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
Toasted peasant bread, for serving
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, combine the broth and Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the rinds are very soft and the broth is reduced to 4 cups, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil along with the zucchini, peppers and leek and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until slightly broken down, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and the Parmigiano rinds and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the broken pasta and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir the pasta into the stew and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes. Discard the rinds and stir in the basil. Serve the vegetable stew in deep bowls, passing toasted bread at the table.
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