Prosciutto, for example, is used in a variety of places on a menu—in sauces, as a garnish, and in whole dishes, like pastas and pizzas. By planning for various uses of prosciutto, chefs can ensure that every bit is used.
Food organizations such as the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma are doing their part in reducing food waste, too. The organization recently launched an educational initiative and digital training hub for chefs wanting to know more about fully utilizing the prized ham. Its campaign, The Whole Leg, provides extensive insights and resources for menu development, including videos that showcase breaking down the leg, and recipes that incorporate everything from the bone and the fat—which can both be used to intensify the flavor of broths, sauces, or stews—to the bottom and the skin—which can be incorporated into dishes ranging from meatballs to risotto.
At Miami’s Macchialina restaurant, Chef Mike Pirolo has embraced the push to get more out of each product in his kitchen, starting with Prosciutto di Parma.
“I grew up in an Italian family, and there’s no such thing as waste,” he says. “For restaurants, reducing waste ultimately helps to make the business more profitable. But also, chefs are pretty competitive. We like to show our customers how we’re thinking outside the box and getting creative with food parts that no one ever thought to use.”
Once a month at Macchialina, Chef Mike and his team take the scraps left over from the restaurant’s charcuterie program—the nub ends of the salami and Prosciutto di Parma that are too short to shave or slice—and grind them together to make Bolognese sauce. The signature pappardelle dish that results has become wildly popular with customers.