If you’ve avoided risotto, thinking you have to stand guard stirring for 30 minutes this almost hands-free risotto is for you. Parmesan, herbs, and figs cook together in white wine risotto for an easy creamy main dish.
Almost Hands-Free Risotto: New Method
This recipe does not employ the traditional risotto method; the rice is mainly stirred for 3 minutes toward the end of cooking instead of constantly throughout. This more hands-off method does require precise timing, so we strongly recommend using a timer. The consistency of risotto is largely a matter of personal taste; if you prefer a looser texture, add extra broth in step 4.
Mostly Hands-Free Risotto: Dinner for Any Night
When you make a mostly hands-free risotto it changes up the idea that this recipe is fussy and meant to be reserved for special occasions. Instead, let this method open up the idea of making risotto whenever you need a last minute meal and a reason to keep Arborio rice in your pantry.
Starchy Rice, Dairy Optional
While this rice dish includes Parmesan, it’s not 100 percent necessary. Arborio rice is naturally very starchy and as it cooks with liquid, those starches cling to the liquid and create a creamy sauce—you can even swap out the initial butter for oil if you’re dairy-free.
Pass the Parmesan
But, hear us out: the Parmesan adds something extra special here beyond extra creaminess because Parmesan adds something more. Parmesan is an ingredient known to boost umami, that hard to define “yumminess” flavor category associated with glutamates. So, adding in Parmesan deepens flavor of this dish.
Freshen Up with Herbs
This mostly hands-free risotto calls for fresh parsley and chives, but if you don’t have them on-hand, play around with dried herbs—just remember to swap out 1 teaspoon of dried herbs per tablespoon of fresh herbs. Or, try other herbs in the mix, like basil or oregano for a sweeter or woodier flavor profile. If you don’t have chives, consider using finely chopped scallions as an extra flourish of flavor.
Wine On for White Wine Risotto
One idea to explore more is how the liquid choice for your risotto impacts the final dish. Our white wine risotto pairs dry white wine with chicken stock adding to the overall flavor. You could just use stock if that’s what you have on hand or don’t imbibe. Make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock. Or, try using red wine for a different result.
Golden or Mission Dried Figs
Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Golden Dried Figs add a milder sweetness whereas our California Mission Dried Figs offer a deep sweetness. We suggest using what you have on-hand as either kind of fig will add its own appeal to this main dish.
Almost Hands-Free White Wine Risotto with Figs, Parmesan and Herbs
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Table salt
- 1 medium garlic clove minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 9 ounces Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese about 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- Ground black pepper
- Bring broth and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain gentle simmer.
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onion and ¾ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened but not browned, 4 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes.
- Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir 5 cups hot broth mixture into rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is just al dente, 16 to 19 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.
- Add ¾ cup hot broth mixture and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in diced figs and Parmesan. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, lemon juice, parsley, and chives; season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add up to 3/4 cup remaining broth mixture to loosen texture of risotto. Serve immediately.