Having a chunk of Parmesan in your fridge automatically makes you a better cook!
Are you ready to challenge me?
Alrighty then…let me explain…
Having a hunk of really good quality hard cheese in the fridge is a good idea for a bunch of reasons.
#1. It lasts a fairly long time: If you wrap you cheese in a piece of paper towel and then loosely in plastic wrap (you don’t want to wrap it so tightly that it collects moisture), it will last a lot longer than soft cheese, like ricotta, because it has a lower moisture content.
#2. It you have guests that stop by at a moment’s notice, it’s a great thing to pull out, cut into chunks and serve with some great crackers, awesome olives and a superb bottle of wine!
#3. It makes a world of difference grating a couple of tablespoons of fresh Parmesan on pasta instead of the kind that comes out of a cardboard tube.
#4…wait for it…
…you get to keep the rinds!
Whaaatttt? I know, why would I keep the rinds? Well, they contain some great flavour that you can transfer to your favorite savoury dishes by tucking a rind into an “almost finished” dish. Think, minestrone soup, risotto…you get it! When you’ve grated your cheese to the very end and are left with just the rind, put it in a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer for up to a year (keep the bag in the freezer and just add to it as you collect your rinds).
The rind has the flavour of the cheese, so why not use it instead of throwing it away? When your dish is almost done, tuck a piece deep into your pot and let it hang out there for about 15 minutes. When you take it out, it will be soft (but not melted) – throw away the rind and stir your dish to bring out some really great flavour!