Brown Rice and Mushroom Risotto

Brown Rice Risotto
Brown rice and mushrooms give this risotto wonderful earthy flavor. Diana Rattray
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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This earthy brown rice risotto is a well-seasoned combination of brown arborio rice, mushrooms, peas, sage, and Parmesan cheese. The short grain brown rice—or brown arborio rice—takes a little longer to cook than white, and if you have never made risotto before, keep in mind that it is a slow process and involves a lot of stirring. But once you eat it you will agree it is well worth it. It is also important that the broth is hot and that you add it in small amounts. 

This recipe includes cooked frozen peas along with sliced green onions, but feel free to use another fresh seasonal vegetable, like sliced asparagus or steamed diced carrots. Toasted pecans would be an excellent addition as well. 

What You'll Need

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 12 to 16 ounces (4 1/2 to 6 cups) coarsely chopped mushrooms, a combination of varieties if possible
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 green onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice (brown arborio rice)
  • 6 cups hot broth, vegetable and/or chicken, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf sage
  • 1 cup frozen peas (cooked and hot)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are browned. Add the garlic and green onions; continue cooking for 1 minute. Transfer the mushroom mixture (along with any liquids) to a bowl; cover and set aside.
  2. To the saucepan add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and place it back over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes.
  1. Add 1 cup of broth to the rice and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of broth and cook, stirring constantly, until broth has been absorbed. Continue adding broth in 1/2 cup portions, stirring and cooking until each portion has been absorbed. When the risotto is just tender (about 25 to 30 minutes), add the mushroom mixture back to the rice and stir in the dried sage. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes longer, adding more broth as needed (add small amounts of water if all of the broth has been used).
  2. Just before serving, stir in the hot cooked peas and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tips and Variations

The beauty of risotto is that it is the perfect blank slate for adding a variety of vegetables or other ingredients, or altering the recipe to your liking. You can omit the peas in this recipe or replace them with diced steamed carrots or sweet potato. For a spring dish, add about 1/2 cup of fresh steamed chopped asparagus to the risotto along with the peas. 

Adding nuts to risotto creates a delicious flavor and interesting texture. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped toasted pecans to the risotto. To toast the pecans, spread them out in a dry skillet and cook, stirring, over medium heat until they are lightly browned and aromatic. Transfer them to a plate to halt the cooking process.