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Massimo’s Zero Waste Vegetable Elixer

Debra Redalia


This photo is from Masterclass.com , where I learned to make Massimo’s “vegetable elixir.”

I’ve been watching a masterclass with Italian chef Massimo Bottura on Masterclass.com. He is amazing.

One of his basic principles is “zero waste cooking,” making use of parts of ingredients that many people would throw away.

But he uses these scraps in ways that exhalt them.

Where others might make “vegetable stock,” he makes The Broth of Everything which
extracts the “mood” from scraps and vegetables.

And and it really does. This technique for making vegetable broth transforms the mundane into what he calls “vegetable elixir.” And an elixer it is. After I made my first batch I took a spoonful to taste and then just started drinking it out of the jar. My body could feel the nourishment.

In the recipe he gives a list of vegetables, then he says to take the peelings for the broth and save the usual edible parts for another use. I love how this glorifies the parts we usually call “waste.”

The recipe calls for the peelings of yellow onions, russet potatoes, parsnips, celery root plus sprigs of thyme.

I used trimmings I collected as I was cooking other dishes: mushrooms, carrots, onions, and celery. I collected them in the freezer.

The first step in making vegetable elixir is to dehydrate the vegetables by placing them in the oven overnight at 150 degrees F, or the lowest temperature on your oven. Just spread them out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut them to approximately even sizes and mix them together so they dehydrate evenly.

In the morning, turn the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and roast for 30 minutes to caramelize the vegetables, to bring out depth of flavor.

Then toss the browned trimmings into a pot, and cover with about 1 1/2 gallons of water.

Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to a bare simmer.

Then he says “cook for six hours.” I cooked mine for about 30 minutes and it was divine. One day I will cook it for six hours and see what that’s like.

Even at 30 minutes, I would call this “vegetable elixir.” It had much more flavor and my body just wanted to soak up all the nutrients. It had a deep, dark color and rich flavor.

I can’t wait to make it again.

While Massimo says to add salt at the end, I used a fair amount of celery in my batch, which release their naturally-occurring salt into the broth.

Also, I highly recommend including mushrooms as part of the mix for depth of flavor.

Try this. It’s worth the time and attention. Wow.