Friday, April 15, 2011

Brown Butter Risotto

Despite the fact that my fridge is mostly bare, there are always a few items hiding out down in the veggie bins that I never seem to remember about until it's too late. I hate that. This time, I found a carton of mushrooms on the verge of trash-worthiness. Even though they were only about $1, I still couldn't bring myself to just leave them in there, so I hunted around the kitchen trying to find something to go with them.

Which is when I came across my stash of arborio rice in the pantry. That'd work. For some reason, I kept thinking about brown butter, and how nice the nutty flavor would go with the earthiness of the mushrooms. Sure, why not? It was going to be a hodge-podge meal anyways... Might as well throw in the last of my white wine too, as that was also probably past its prime. Geez. Clearly I have an issue with using things up.

Brown Butter Risotto

Original Recipe

4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup white wine
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
8 ounces white mushrooms, diced
4 ounces frozen peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring broth and wine to boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover saucepan.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a wide medium saucepan (such as a 10" omelette pan) over medium-low heat. Add onions; saute until very tender but not brown, about 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups warm broth. Boil gently until broth is absorbed, stirring frequently. Add another 1 cup broth; stir until absorbed. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is tender and creamy, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet coated with cooking spray, cook the mushrooms over medium heat until tender and just starting to release liquids, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Wipe skillet with a paper towel. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stirring often, continue to cook the butter until the foaming subsides and browned bits have formed on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Fold in the Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, peas, and black pepper. Add the browned butter, stirring well.

Serves: 6

Sometimes when I throw together a "cleaning-out-the-kitchen" meal it turns out just alright, or even not-so-hot. Every once in a while though, I put together something that I would gladly eat again, even the next day, as leftovers. Which is really saying something. I knew going in that this would at least be decent, as I started out with my favorite go-to-hasn't-failed-me-yet risotto recipe. But I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed the mushrooms in it.

I was a little disappointed that the brown butter didn't come through as much as I expected. Though I think not adding the wine and maybe combining the butter with the broth additions might bring out that nuttiness I was looking for a bit more. I guess there's only one way to find out... :)

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 416Calories from fat 151
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16.8g26%
Saturated Fat 10.3g51%
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 659mg27%
Total Carbs 46.3g15%
Dietary Fiber 3.3g13%
Sugars 3.2g
Protein 12.9g
Vitamin A 17%Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 21%Iron 9%


  1. Browned butter anything, count me in! My favorite risotto dish is with asparagus, leeks, bacon, and chicken...yum

  2. Love this :) I love risotto with peas :)

  3. I could eat a huge bowl of this for dinner. The mushroom and peas are so springy.

  4. 'shrooms in risotto = score! I love that combo... and it's usually how I serve it.

  5. I love brown butter, I am sorry to hear it didn't come through more in this recipe. Your changes might be worth it, though.

  6. Your fridge sounds a lot like mine...bare except for veggies. How does that always happen? :) This is a great recipe for what I have on hand...thanks!

  7. I've never met a risotto I didn't like! I love the sound of this brown butter version! Maybe just drizzling it on top and not stirring it in would make the flavor come out more w/ each bite??? I dunno... just thinking out loud! :D

  8. I absolutely hate throwing out food no matter how much or little it costs. It also becomes a fun challenge to figure out how to use it. I love risotto but haven't had a tried and true recipe to stick with. I will definitely give this one a try.

  9. This looks great. I'm pretty sure I accidentally made a brown butter risotto last time I made it. But that's what happens when you stop paying attention to your melted butter before you toast up your rice, right?

  10. i really like making risotto and especially like your brown butter idea. I think versatility is what makes risotto so fun to make, and your version looks great.

  11. You just reminded me I have a stash of aborio rice hiding in my fridge that I have been hesitant to use. I've got to bite the bullet and try risotto because this sounds awesome.



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