Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Parmesan and Herbs

I love risotto – I try and make it at least once a year.  The problem is that I need dedicated stove time with no interruptions – which doesn’t happen to often with two girls that are constantly vieing for my attention.  Although, I do love the workout I get by stirring something consistently for 20+ minutes. 

I was reading my Cook’s Illustrated, and this title just grabbed me.  This would be perfect, I could have my risotto, and possibly keep my children happy at the same time.  What could be better?  Well, the risotto was fantastic, it was nice and creamy, with a wonderful rich flavor (I used a hard gouda cheese, instead of parmesan).  You can easily add some roasted chicken to this and make a heart meal.  You could also add some spring vegetables like asparagus, leeks, or fava beans.  The sky is the limit, and I can’t wait to try some other combinations now that I know the secret…


  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • table salt
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 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
  • group black pepper


Bring broth and water to boil in large sauce-pan 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 3/4 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 3/4 cup hot broth mixture and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes.  Stir in 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 1/2 cup remaining broth mixture to loosen texture of risotto.  Serve immediately.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Parmesan

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