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A Great Risotto Trick (Plus a Pine Nut Update)

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Last night, Electrolux hosted a demonstration of their dreamy ICON kitchen equipment at their new showroom, the Desiron Gallery in Soho. River Café chef Brad Steelman cooked an early spring dinner on the induction cooktop, convection oven, warming drawer and high-speed oven—four impressive appliances.

I loved learning how the air in the small high speed oven circulates at 60 miles an hour to bake the molten chocolate cakes in a mere 8 minutes. “I admit the desserts are a cliché,” said Steelman. “But they’re always delicious and impressive.” (True and true: In fact, our own Grace Parisi created amazingly gooey variations on the cakes here).

But the thing I learned that I could take to my own kitchen (the ICON equipment, while beautiful, is a bit out of my price range) is to make risotto with water…at least partially. Since good chicken stock is gelatinous when cool, it can quickly help turn your runny, creamy risotto into a thick, gluey mess. Steelman said he likes to lighten risotto by using water most of the time and adding stock toward the end to enrich its flavor. A great tip, I think.

Oh, and for those curious about the fate of the horrible bitter taste caused by evil pine nuts, it is thankfully, gone! Just in time for the Best New Chef party.  

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