What is the Sage by Heston Blumenthal Risotto Plus?
The Sage Risotto Plus is a multi-cooker that promises to cook fluffy rice and creamy risotto without stirring, as well as being a slow cooker. It also has a sauté/sear function that makes it easier to cook everything in one pot – for example sautéing onions and garlic as the base for a risotto or searing meat for a stew.
Results are impressive – its no-stir risotto was almost as delicious as one that’s been slaved over for half an hour, thanks to a clever function that uses bubbles to agitate the rice. The build quality is exquisite too. In fact, the only thing that rankles about the Sage Risotto Plus is its price tag.
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Sage Risotto Plus – Design and Features
The build quality of the Sage Risotto Plus strikes you immediately. It feels solid and well built, with quality materials and design details such as superb handles on the side for transferring it to the table or simply moving it in the kitchen.
It comes with a rice paddle, plastic measuring cup and a large stainless steel steaming tray – where most slow cookers come with a small plastic tray. The round cooking pot is non-stick, as is the inside of the cooker itself. Capacity is 3.7 litres, enough for 20 cups of cooked rice.
The controls are simple: buttons at the bottom to select one of five modes: risotto, sauté/sear, rice/steam, slow cooker low, slow cooker high. There’s no countdown timer or delayed start. You can’t program the cooking time, only switch it on in the morning and off again when you get home.
If you’re cooking rice or steaming, however, the cooker will switch over to keep warm mode once it’s cooked. (This common rice cooker feature might seem like magic, but it’s quite simple: a temperature sensor detects the fact that your food is getting hotter because all the cooking water has been absorbed.)
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Notable features are the sauté/sear and risotto modes. The former offers a high heat for searing meat or sautéing base ingredients such as onions, garlic and spices. Interestingly the instructions suggest it’s safe to use from age 8, making it a safer alternative to the hob for budding chefs.
The risotto mode controls temperature through a number of phases to create tiny bubbles that agitate the rice, releasing starch to give the dish a creamy texture without the need to stir.
Sage Risotto Plus – What’s it like to use?
The no-stir risotto was impressive. Firstly, because the sauté/sear mode meant there was no need to use a second pan. Secondly, because the results were almost as deliciously creamy as if the risotto had been stirred constantly for half an hour. And thirdly because it sensed when the dish was cooked and automatically switched to keep warm mode.
The sauté/sear mode seemed a little on the hot side – butter browned slightly quicker than you’d hope for. But with Heston Blumenthal’s name on the box you can’t help doubting yourself: what if you’ve been sautéing at the wrong temperature for years?
Blumenthal has clearly had a hand in the product. He’s famously a fan of cooking slowly so that meat retains its juices (if protein is heated quickly, it contracts and the juices are squeezed out). The cooker’s design is impeccable and the accompanying recipes from Blumenthal are surprisingly not too bonkers – there’s a disappointing lack of snail porridge.
Should I buy the Sage Risotto Plus?
If you just want a slow cooker and/or a rice cooker, no, as it’s hard to justify the Sage’s price tag. Instead, look at more affordable options like the Lakeland Brushed Chrome Family Slow Cooker or the Tefal 8-in-1 Multi Cooker (the latter is especially good for cooking with a time delay).
But if you love risotto, or you simply want to make slow-cooked dishes without using another pan to sear/sauté first, the beautifully made Sage Risotto Plus won’t disappoint.
This premium one-pot cooker saves on time and washing up. Superb, if you don’t mind the hefty price tag.
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