Toasted Tiny Pasta in Parm Broth


The key to this deeply flavorful but simple broth is Parmigiano Reggiano rinds, and sadly there's really no substitute. I keep the rinds of my cheese in a resealable bag in my cheese drawer and once they've accumulated to a sizable quantity, turn them into this broth. Alternatively, you can buy parm rinds at most Whole Foods Markets, or ask for them at any nice cheese shop.

Active Time: 20 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins



  • 2 whole heads garlic


  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • ½ cup tiniest pasta you can find (pastina, orzo, acini di pepe or fregola)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more


  • ½ lb Parmigiano Reggiano rinds
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving


  • 4 eggs (or as many as needed)

1. Make the Parm Broth:


  • Cut 2 whole heads of garlic in half crosswise. In a medium pot, combine the garlic (skins and all), 1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns, and ½ pound Parmigiano Reggiano rinds. Cover with 9 cups of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, reduce to a bare simmer and cook, for at least 1 hour, or up to 2. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt. Taste and add a bit more if needed. It will need a lotttt of salt to start tasting like something. Turn off the heat while you continue.



2. Toast the pasta:


  • Grab a strainer and have it at the ready.
  • In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add ½ cup tiniest pasta you have, a big pinch of salt and a bunch of freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring the pasta, until it is deeply toasted and nutty, 2-3 minutes.
  • Place the strainer over the pot of pasta, and strain the parm broth right into the pot. Discard solids. Bring the broth to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender (this will vary depending how tiny your pasta is! Taste it!) Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper as needed.



3. Poach the eggs and serve:


  • Working one at a time, crack 2 eggs into the pot of broth. Cover and cook, at a bare simmer, until the whites are set and yolks are as runny or cooked as you like them (3-6 minutes).
  • Carefully transfer an egg to each serving bowl along with some broth and a few scoops of pasta. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Finely grate lots of fresh parm over each bowl and drizzle with more olive oil. Repeat again, poaching more eggs as needed!


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