As if the wonderful comforting flavor and texture of gnocchi doesn’t work all by itself, this recipe using Parmesan cheese rind has the power to take your soup to the next level of delicious.
If you’ve never heard of using cheese rind to flavor your soup, don’t stress; consider yourself newly informed. The rind is used to create a savory flavor you may not be able to replicate any other way. Don’t expect an assault to your palate, but rather a subtle, somewhat underlying rustic zest.
Cheese rinds can also be added to beans, any kind of sauce, pasta dishes, or whatever else you dream up. Don’t be surprised if it becomes your new culinary addiction, especially when you take it out of the pot of cooked soup and take a bite.
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 14 ounces fresh sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
- 4 ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
- 2 large roasted red bell peppers, jarred or homemade
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 (16-ounce) package gnocchi
- 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving (optional)
- In a small bowl, make a slurry by whisking together ½ cup cold water and the flour. Heat a large nonstick pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces, until cooked through and slightly browned, 4 minutes.
- Add ½ cup water, broth, and milk and bring to a boil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, Parmesan rind, roasted peppers, and black pepper and return to a boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover, slowly stir in the slurry, and continue stirring while the soup returns to a boil.
- Add the gnocchi, spinach, and basil. Cook until the gnocchi start to float to the top and become puffy (or according to the package directions) and the soup thickens. Season with black pepper to taste. Discard the cheese rind. To serve, ladle the soup into 8 serving bowls and sprinkle evenly with grated cheese, if desired.
Source: The Skinny Taste Cookbook