Many meat eaters say they can’t become vegetarians because of bacon—its smoky deliciousness trips them up every time. Ruth has a similar dilemma: she can’t become a vegan because of parmesan cheese, which lends depth, breadth, and bliss to everything it touches.
Our Costco membership allows us to get Parmigiano Reggiano for a relative bargain—$11 a pound—but we still strive to make every crumb count. Once we’ve scraped the rind nearly bare, we freeze it. Later, when we’re making a batch of minestrone or other vegetable soup, we toss in the rind and let it simmer. It turns into a gummy wad that looks awful but tastes wonderful (if a glamour puss like Nigella Lawson can admit to gnawing on hers, we can, too) and dramatically amps up the flavor of the soup liquid.
If your parmesan rind gets moldy, just scrub it with some white vinegar. Once frozen, it will keep indefinitely.