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This week's recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

April 13, 2013|By Noelle Carter
  • Spring vegetables in Parmesan broth with goat cheese ravioli.
Spring vegetables in Parmesan broth with goat cheese ravioli. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

So what's the true test of a cook? Well, as Food editor Russ Parsons shows, it's the ability to make something from nothing:

"Here in California we love to brag about our abundance of wonderful seasonal ingredients and how that makes good food easy. That's more or less true, but I have to confess that I've also always had a sneaking admiration for those cooks who can whip up something from nothing.

"Sure, it's wonderful to be able to just pick up a sack of Ojai Pixie mandarins and a box of medjool dates and call it dessert. But you've really got to admire someone who can take a couple of wilted zucchinis, a sprouting onion and some canned tomatoes and turn that into something delicious — the real-life equivalent of the proverbial stone soup.

"I've got my own version, and, in fact, it does start with something hard as a rock. In a battered plastic bag in the deepest recesses of my refrigerator, I've got a hidden stash of gold: rinds from used chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Whenever my wife finds them, she pulls them out and asks disbelievingly: "You're saving these?" And probably 98% of people would have the same reaction."

Russ shows just how amazing those leftover rinds can be -- "flavor bombs, packed with umami" -- he calls them. And he shares recipes.

This week's recipes include:

When you try one of this week's recipes or any L.A. Times recipe, let us know! Upload a photo to the "Our Recipes, Your Kitchen" gallery to share your take on the recipe and tell us about yourself. Your photo will be posted online on our L.A. Times Food page.

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You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Email Noelle at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

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