Recipe: Brown Rice Risotto

Brown Rice Risotto from 100 Days of Real FoodMy great-grandparents were born in Italy so for as long as I can remember risotto has been a staple dish in our family. When my dad is the one cooking, which is the norm in my family, we have risotto at almost every gathering including holiday dinners. I even remember my dad making the Italian flag with his risotto one year by mixing tomato paste with a third of the batch and parsley with another third. I don’t remember who was at this particular dinner, how old I was, or what holiday we were even celebrating, but oh how I remember the Italian flag risotto. :) Clearly I was destined to somehow have food be a big part of my life.

But enough nostalgia for now… What I am really here to say is that I was slightly devastated when I first thought whole-grain risotto was impossible. You see, when we made the switch to “real food” I looked everywhere for brown Arborio rice to no avail. I even went almost a year without eating risotto (yikes!) until one day I saw a post from Deliciously Organic explaining that you can actually make risotto with just regular brown rice…it doesn’t have to be Arborio or anything special! You know how something can suddenly seem so simple when the information is presented to you like that. Plus this is such a great recipe to have in your dinner rotation because (similar to stir-fry) you can mix in almost anything you have on hand from veggies to seafood to meat in order to make it into a complete meal. And if you have some homemade chicken stock available for this recipe, too…then yum!!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Brown Rice Risotto
Serves: 5-6
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups brown rice, quick cooking recommended
  • ⅔ cup white wine
  • 6 cups warm (or room temperature) chicken stock/broth, homemade recommended
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Suggested additions: roasted asparagus and proscuitto, shallots and mushrooms, spinach (cooked or raw), lima beans and bacon, cooked butternut squash, shellfish, rotisserie chicken, artichoke hearts, sautéed zucchini and yellow squash
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté for several minutes until soft (not brown).
  2. Add the minced garlic and brown rice. Stir for a couple minutes to coat rice with oil.
  3. Pour in the wine and let absorb completely, which will only take about a minute.
  4. Add chicken stock to the pan one ladleful at a time and stir frequently. When the stock is almost completely absorbed add the next ladleful and keep repeating until the rice is al dente (almost done). Keep a close eye on the rice and don’t forget to stir frequently during this process. It can take up to 20 or 30 minutes before the rice is done. If the rice is not the “quick cooking” variety it could take twice as long.
  5. When the rice is almost done add the last ladleful of stock (so you can serve it a little soupy), the parmesan cheese, salt & pepper to taste, and any other additions you’d like to include.
    Serve warm and enjoy!

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  • Comments

    1. Jacqueline |

      Fabulous recipe. I didn’t want to open a bottle of wine just for the little bit needed so I just used a bit more broth. I used organic vegetable boullion cubes to make the broth as I didn’t have any frozen broth left. We added shrimp, mushrooms, and spinach (cooked) to ours and it was amazing! And I used not quick cooking rice- took about 45 minutes of cooking.

    2. Sharon |

      Was looking forward to a healthier option trying to eliminate processed foods for our family, so making a risotto with brown rice was one l was keen to try. This recipe was an absolute disaster, it took 2 litres of stock, along with 1.5 hrs to cook! The brown rice simply wouldnt absorb the stock, hence the cooking time was sooo long, am at a loss as to why the recipe turned out poorly, and l call myself a reasonable cook. Very disappointing!

      • |

        Could it be that it wasn’t boiling or simmering, only on low heat?
        I soak and/or sprout my brown rice. Soaking the rice for at least 8 hours beforehand make the rice take less time to cook and even more so when I sprout it. I also use a pressure cooker, so I can cook rice in less than 10 minutes!
        I really suggest trying either/both of those options. Soaking and sprouting increases the bio-availability of nutrients in the brown rice and my pressure cooker is one of my most-used kitchen utensils.

    3. Mary-Lou |

      I also had trouble with the time it took to get the brown rice al dente until a friend recommended pre cooking the brown rice the night before.Makes the evening meal a bit quicker the next day and still tastes great.My brown rice rissotto is a hit. Thanks ML

    4. Karen |

      The recipe calls for quick cooking ( parboiled) brown rice,such as Uncle Ben’s..not regular brown rice. If you want to use rehular brown rice, cook it for twenty minutes, drain, and then use the above recipe.

    5. Ann |

      What a nice recipe! I tried it and everyone liked it! My family said me that I have to do that meal everyday, thanks my Redmond 4500 multicooker – it can do it without my attention – just put ingredients in the multicooker and you are free.

    6. JD |

      I was looking for a brown rice risotto recipe for arancini (which I bake.) I have found a medium grain brown rice in the part of the grocery store that sells Bob’s Red Mill & gluten free stuff. I can also get it in bulk from the local organic grocery. It’s pretty close to Arborio and I much prefer the medium grain brown rice over the long grain. I haven’t timed it, but I believe it also cooks a little quicker.
      I also saw a recipe for just what I wanted to make from Rocco Dispirito – baked brown rice arancini! His recipe included pulsing the rice in a food processor or coffee grinder to break it up a bit so it will cook quicker. This is probably especially good for risotto as ut would release more creamy starchiness.
      I may also wind up trying it in a slow coomer as I like to make a lot of arancini to freeze and have on hand. Great for snacks or impromptu appetizers – just pop in the oven for 30 min!

    7. kori |

      This is delicious and I know you recommended quick cooking rice, but for those of us who have regular rice you might want to rest in the recipe it takes more like an hour and half – 2 hours way more than double the time. I love the idea of cooking for 20 min then following your recipe. wish i had read the reviews first, but great recipe. thanks!

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