Anyone who’s made risotto knows it’s kind of an all-consuming process. You can’t walk away from it, as it requires frequent stirring and a watchful eye. It’s sort of the opposite of a slow-cooker stew, which you can set and forget. That’s why it’s pretty cool that KitchenAid decided to make one machine that can handle both dishes.
The four-quart Multi-Cooker goes a few steps beyond an ordinary slow cooker, which typically have just two temperature settings: low and high. While this machine has those, for certain cooking modes, you can set the Multi-Cooker to between 110 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It has cooking settings that include steam or boil, sauté, sear, simmer, and slow cook. There are also preprogrammed risotto, soup, rice, and yogurt settings, as well. To aid with some of these settings, a two-in-one steam basket and roasting rack is included.
If you want to make risotto and have the optional stir tower attachment, the dish suddenly becomes something you can prepare without having to babysit. Scroll through the preprogrammed options and select “Risotto.” The machine heats up to the “Sauté” setting; you can use the timer for this step, if you prefer. Add your ingredients, finish sautéing, and hit the arrow button to continue to the “Simmer” mode. As the machine cools, you can again hit the timer, then add the rest of your ingredients. Hit the arrow again when the dish is done to set the Multi-Cooker for “keep warm,” which will stay on for up to 24 hours if you didn’t set a timer. Throughout the process, the stirrer’s paddle will mix the risotto, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure consistency.
If you prefer manual mode, the machine displays six different temperature modes for use like a typical stove, including warm, low, medium low, medium, medium high, and high. The display will also give you the temperature for each setting; for example, medium is 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
The stir tower has three constant stirring speeds and two intermittent ones. It costs $250, and the Multi-Cooker will set you back $350. However, Williams Sonoma is currently selling both together for $400. If you already have a slow cooker, it probably doesn’t make sense to upgrade, but if you’ve been thinking of investing in one, the Multi-Cooker might just have enough tricks to justify the extra cost.