Recipe by Lidia Bastianich, as posted in the NY Times
This is a great soup recipe with a very hot tip- adding a Parmigiano cheese rind to your pot! It adds a ton of flavor and lots of depth and richness. Lidia chops up the rind and uses the pieces when serving- I tend to leave the rind whole and remove it at the end of cooking. This soup takes less than an hour to make but has bold and well-melded flavors that belie its quick preparation. Life is good!
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, coarsely shredded
2 center celery stalks, diced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
10 cups hot chicken broth
2 2-inch-squares Parmigiano rind, exterior scraped
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup long-grain rice
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a deep, heavy 4- to 5-quart pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Potatoes will stick to pot; adjust heat to prevent stuck bits from becoming too dark. Stir in carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, another 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables.
Add broth, Parmigiano rinds and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, scraping up bits of potato on bottom, then simmer. Season soup lightly with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook until potatoes begin to fall apart, about 40 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until rice is tender but still firm, about 12 minutes. Remove bay leaves, stir in parsley, and check seasoning. Remove rinds and cut into small pieces. Eat them right away or put a piece in each soup bowl and ladle soup on top. Serve.