Rice and Grains

Makhani Risotto

Paneer Makhani, a strikingly bright buttery dish, is made with an aromatic tomato sauce, paneer, and butter. The word “makhani” means enriched with butter; it adds a deep flavor to the recipe. Paneer Makhani became popular in the 1950s in Northern India. Since then, more often than not, you will find Makhani as Butter Paneer at Indian Restaurants. For me, Paneer Makhani is a meal for special occasions. This dish is tied to spending time with my family and celebrating Indian holidays. Makhani Risotto is a spin on the original recipe. It’s made with Vialone Nano Campanini Rice and cooked in an aromatic tomato gravy with spices like garam masala and turmeric. Transforming this recipe into a fusion Risotto-style meal for any weeknight offers a way to commemorate the original dish while bringing feelings of home and family Paneer Makhani represents to everyday dinners.



Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4
  • Begin by heating up a pan with olive oil. Then, add in the onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, and a generous pinch of salt (1 tablespoon iodized/2 tablespoons Kosher salt). Cook until the onions turn translucent. Then add in the tomato puree and bring to a simmer for 5-7 minutes. Add in the water and continue to simmer.
  • 2. While the tomato gravy simmers, heat another pot with the butter and add the Vialone Nano Campanini Rice to the pot. Mix and let the rice turn translucent. Once the rice changes color, add one cup of the tomato gravy into the rice pot at a time until the gravy is absorbed. Keep stirring the rice and gravy on low heat. As the rice absorbs the liquid, continue tasting and adding salt to taste. Repeat until the rice is cooked and there is no more tomato gravy.
  • 3. Once the rice is fully cooked, taste it to add extra salt and chili powder if necessary. Mix in almost all of your cream (reserve a couple of tablespoons) and lemon juice to taste.
  • 4. Transfer the risotto to a serving dish, top with the remaining cream and chopped cilantro. Serve warm with a side of naan if desired.
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