November 11, 2022

Brown Butter and Sage Risotto

With nutty brown butter, and earthy sage this brown butter and sage risotto is a perfect Fall comfort dish.

POV: it is cold outside, and you are curled up with a bowl of creamy, and indulgent hot risotto. While this risotto is a must try all on it’s own, add perfectly seared scallops and you go from an any day meal to a date night-in worthy dish. Before you turn away because the last thing you want to do is slave over a pot of risotto, it is actually easier and quicker than you think. Like the rest of my risotto recipes this easy approach to risotto does not require constant stirring to achieve that creamy perfectly cooked texture risotto is known for.


This risotto gets the majority of it’s flavor from brown butter. Before you ask, no it is not burnt, just browned. If you have never browned butter before it is time you take out the saucepan. So what is brown butter exactly? It is gently and slow cooked butter (5-7 minutes on low heat) until the milk solids have toasted and separated from the fat. The result is a nutty, rich, and sweet butter that can be used beyond baked goods. While browning butter is extremely easy it does take a watchful eye so be sure to read the recipe card below.

Just a tip! If you want to have brown butter on hand but don’t want to go through all the trouble of cooking it for every recipe, brown butter can be made in advanced. Once done place in an ice cube tray in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen pop it out and store in a zip lock bag or airtight container

up close shot of brown butter and sage risotto topped with seared scallops


I love scallops, they are tender, sweet, and buttery, but damn are they expensive. Whether you opt to buy frozen or from behind a counter (there is a chance that the “fresh” scallops were once frozen) below are a few tips to do them justice.

Dry, dry, dry – Make sure they are absolutely dry before pan frying. Pat both sides with a paper towel to absorb any moisture, this will help get a good sear. Salt both sides (optional pepper) right before placing them in the pan.

Heat the pan You want the pan to be HOT, almost scalding, but not hot enough that it starts to burn the oil or butter. I like to use oil since the smoke point is much higher than butter (300 degrees Fahrenheit vs 410 degrees Fahrenheit).

Don’t overcook! – Depending on the size, scallops only need to be cooked for 2-3 minutes on each side, which is why a super hot pan is essential to get a sear in that amount of time.


Never made risotto before? Or only know how to make it by constantly stirring? Below is my easy less intimidating approach to risotto.

Sauté the base – Add butter to a wide pot or pan on low heat. In this recipe we want to brown the butter, ie. cook it until it is smells sweet, nutty, and is brown in color, approx 5-7 minutes. This requires a lot of attention, walk away and your brown butter will become burnt butter. Once brown and nutty, sauté the garlic, shallots until soft and fragrant. Add the sage.

Toast the risotto – Add the dry not washed rice to the pan and toast it for 3-5 minutes until grains start to become translucent. I can not stress enough do not wash the rice beforehand, this will completely strip the rice of the starches it needs to make this dish super creamy.

Add wine or broth – If adding wine (optional in some recipes, suggested in this one) deglaze the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the alcohol cooks off. Have your broth in a sauce pan on the stove to stay warm. When you are ready add the broth, but not all at once! For every cup of risotto you need approx. 4 cups of broth. Have extra on hand! I found with different brands of arborio rice I needed + or – a cup. Depending on your pan this might be split into 3 or 4 rounds. My rule of thumb is to pour just enough broth to cover the risotto.

Mix, Add, Shake – Mix 2-3 times per broth add. If you end up mixing more, no biggie! Also give the pan a mix or a shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Once the broth has mostly absorbed add more broth until all broth has been used.

Final Adds – In the last few minutes add the parm, mix and serve immediately. Risotto should be creamy, and loose. As it cools down it will start to tighten up. Still delicious, but best eaten right away.

up close shot of creamy cooked risotto


  • Arborio Rice– Or Carnaroli, although this variety is harder to come by. Unfortunately, the long grain rice you have chilling in the back of your pantry won’t work. Different varieties of rice absorb liquid differently, have a different starch level, and in the end just won’t yield the same results.
  • Butter – Brown butter that is. This is an extra step, and adds a few minutes to the cooking time, but worth the effort.
  • Broth– Either chicken or vegtable work well with this risotto. Even though this dish is recommended to be paired with scallops, avoid seafood stock.
  • Dry White Wine – Good rule of thumb, cook with a nice dry white wine you would drink. Unfortunately cooking wine is a no no for this recipe.
  • Shallot– I love substituting onions for shallots when appropriate. If you have never cooked with shallots before, they are sweeter and are less pungent than onions, which works well for this recipe.
  • Garlic – Fresh only, as always.
  • Sage– Chiffonade / cut into thin strips. Simply roll a few leaves at a time and roll your knife back and forth to cut into thin strips.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Leave the pre-shredded, pre-powdered parm for a different recipe. Fresh only here. You’re free to add more than what the recipe calls for, the amount below should be used as the guideline/minimum.
  • Scallops – Optional but highly recommended. They make the dish.
up close shot of brown butter and sage risotto topped with seared scallops

brown butter and sage risotto topped with seared scallops, brown butter and sage.

Looking for more risotto recipes? I got a few, check out the below!

Mushroom Risotto
Creamy Lemon Parm Risotto
Kale and Pancetta Risotto
Creamy Tomato Risotto

November 11, 2022

Brown Butter and Sage Risotto

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With nutty brown butter, and earthy sage this brown butter and sage risotto is a perfect Fall comfort dish.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Date Night, Risotto, Seafood
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 3 people


  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 15 sage leaves cut in ribbons
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 – 4 1/2 cups broth chicken or vegtable
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • scallops *quantity up to you


  • Warm the broth separately on the stove.
  • In a wide pot on medium-low heat melt the butter. Continuously stir as the butter starts to bubble and foam. Stir for about 5-7 minutes until butter has turned brown and a nutty aroma is present.
  • Once butter is browned add shallots, garlic, sage, and a 1/2 tsp of salt. Sweat and cook down for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Add arborio rice and mix to combine. Toast rice for 3-4 minutes until it starts to become translucent.
  • Add the wine and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the first round of broth. Depending on the pan add broth until it just covers the risotto. (could be 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups). Give it a quick mix, a shake of the pan to ensure all grains are covered and cook until rice absorbs the majority of the broth. Mix every few minutes to avoid the rice from sticking.
  • Add more broth and repeat above steps.
  • Once almost all the broth has been added (approx. 4 cups), but not completely absorbed (15-18 minutes of cooking) give it a taste. Rice should still be loose, yet al dente. If it is still hard add more broth 1/4 cup at a time and cook down. Add the Parmesan cheese, salt to taste. Mix to incorporate. Serve immediately.

Seared Scallops

  • Prep your scallops by drying them throughly with a paper towel and adding a generous sprinkle of salt right before cooking.
  • In a frying pan over medium to high heat add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Once hot, add the scallops searing them on each side for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve on top of the risotto.


  • Both the risotto and the scallops need to be served immediately. I suggest you start cooking the scallops in the last 5-7 minutes, right before adding the last round of broth to the risotto.

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe – it was really delicious, impressed my italian partner 🙂 added a squeeze of lemon over the top to add some acidity and it was great. Was also easy to make !