Pan Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto with Champagne Pan Sauce

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Pan Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto with Champagne Pan Sauce has spicy seared catfish over a special champagne risotto is an elegant and flavorful special occasion dinner!

Spicy seared catfish over a special champagne risotto is an elegant and flavorful special occasion dinner!

Left Over Wine or Champagne? No Problem! Pan Seared Catfish
over Champagne Risotto with Champagne Pan Sauce

I’m relaxing on the couch, having successfully completed (with outstanding aptitude) my carpool, tutoring, chef, and maid duties for the day wasting time being inspired on Pinterest, Big Daddy is watching some awful show on the History channel, the dog is asleep on my leg and the boys are fighting over who has to shower first when this thingamajig on the computer screen catches my eye. “Store your leftover champagne or wine.” It screams! Wait, wha..? Excuse me? Did you say leftover wine? I was under the impression that you could not have leftover wine!
There are two things that Momma’s teach us about being good Southern girls (we wouldn’t be worth our weight in pimento and cheese if we didn’t listen to our Momma’s)
1) never go in public looking like hell
2) finish all your champagne! ….er, wait, or was that our Sorority Sisters that taught us that?

Let’s just say you did have champagne or wine that you couldn’t finish. I would not purchase this thingamajig, I would find a way to use it. This risotto would be the perfect recipe for it. On the other hand, it would be the perfect opportunity to open a bottle of champagne or wine. This way, when your husband comes home and you have a half-full bottle of booze, you can respond, “Honey, I opened it for you. I made you this beautiful dinner…” True story!

Pan Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto

Pan-Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto with Champagne Pan Sauce

The fact is, it’s not that I particularly wanted to use champagne with dinner, I was just tired of the usual potatoes, pasta, or grits. I wanted a little something more with the awesome MS farm-raised catfish that I planned to blacken and serve. Champagne risotto has a nice creamy texture against the spicy catfish.


I was intimidated by risotto for years; it has a bad reputation for being a time-consuming, fussy dish. It does not take hours to make. In fact, jump over to my post, How to Make Basic Risotto, for all the tips. I have no patience at all so I know you can do this. It takes 30 minutes from start to finish and that includes prepping your ingredients. Yes, you will have to stand at the stove and stir for 20 to 25 minutes. It is this stirring process that releases starch creating a creamy, velvety texture. Look on the bright side, you have all but 1/2 cup of the bottle of champagne that you can drink while you stir!

Pan Seared Catfish

The next step in this dinner is pan searing the catfish. As the risotto is in the last 5 minutes of cooking, preheat skillet for catfish.

Pan Seared Catfish
Pan Seared Catfish

Once the catfish is cooked, deglaze the pan with champagne and 1 T butter. Reduce until sauce is thick.

Pan Seared Catfish

To serve, layer catfish over risotto and spoon Champagne Reduction over fish and risotto.

Pan Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto

Pan Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto with Champagne Pan Sauce

Pan Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto with Champagne Pan Sauce has spicy seared catfish over a special champagne risotto is an elegant and flavorful special occasion dinner!
Author: Paula
5 from 13 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
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  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ medium sweet onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic diced
  • ½ cup dry champagne
  • 1 cup arborio rice carnroli, or vialone nano rice. I have always used arborio.
  • 4 cup chicken stock warm
  • 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper if needed to taste


  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch red pepper
  • 6 medium catfish fillets
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter



  • Prep all your ingredients beforehand. You will not have time to chop the onion and grate the cheese after you begin. Measure all your ingredients and have them ready. (You also need to prep the catfish before you begin the risotto.) Gather together all your utensils. For risotto you will need a 10-inch saucepan with 3 to 4-inch sides, a large saucepan to heat broth, a heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon, and a ladle or measuring cup.
  • Heat the chicken stock to hot, but not boiling.
  • The first step of actually cooking the risotto will be to create the flavor base. Preheat your 10-inch pan to med-high. Add 1 T olive oil then add onions and sauté 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the rice. Stir the rice completely coating the grains in oil. Continue toasting the rice until the ends are translucent but the center of the grain remains opaque.
  • Add 1/2 c champagne and deglaze the pan, stirring constantly until champagne evaporates.
  • At this point, you'll begin to add the chicken stock. Add 1/2 c stock at a time, stirring rice constantly until the stock is absorbed by the rice. Continue adding stock and stirring until rice is al dente. This process will take 20 to 25 minutes. When done the rice will no longer be opaque in the center and will have doubled in size.
  • The last step will be to stir in cheese, butter, and parsley. Stir until cheese melts. It can sit a couple of minutes but serve as quickly as you can.


  • Mix all ingredients except catfish together in a small bowl. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
  • Preheat skillet on high. Pat catfish with a paper towel to remove any moisture. Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of the fillets. When the skillet is hot, add oil. When oil starts to ripple, add catfish careful not to over-crowd the pan. Cook approximately 2 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily. Remove catfish and set aside.


Substitute tilapia or any mild-flavored white fish for the catfish.


Calories: 1207kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 155g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 538mg | Sodium: 1458mg | Potassium: 3544mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1857IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 5mg
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  1. Pingback: 20 Festive Champagne Cocktails Plus Champagne Recipes And More
  2. WOW! what a creative and delicious looking way to use up some left over champagne! This recipe looks amazing! Visiting from SITS! 😀

  3. Looks really yummy! I love dishes with risotto and this would be perfect to try out 🙂 Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful SITS day!

  4. I love risotto and wine in it is wonderful! This recipe looks delicious!! Going to check out some of your other posts as well!!

  5. I've never made risotto for exactly the reasons you mentioned here. But my kids LOVE catfish. I may have to give this one a try.

  6. Sounds like something to try on a Friday night. Thanks for the recipe and the cute blog. Enjoy your SITS Day.

  7. The Champagne risotto looks great Paula~ Always love al the fabulous recipes I can find here. Happiest of SITS Days to you!

  8. This looks delicious – and for some reason, I always have that 1/2 cup of cahmpagne sitting around. It's like I drank too much to start with and then can't look at it again! Happy SITS Day!

  9. Yes, Paula I can't get enough of your recipes. You are being featured again on Foodie Friday today. Thank you again for sharing your recipes regularly with us.

  10. I've made risotto once before, and never tried again. I probably didn't cook it long enough, or have the patience to stir it, lol.
    I have never tried catfish though. This looks like a great recipe to start with!

  11. I am not a big fish fan, but looking at yours, I want it right now! I also love the ingredient combo! Very nicely done!
    Thank you so much for sharing this at Wednesday Extravaganza – hope to see you there again next week – and don't forget the voting is today!

  12. I love your recipe I wish I saw catfish in the fish shop in my town more, but it's not very common in the Northeast. My husband is from FL and loves it. I'll keep an eye out. thanks for sharing the recipe with us.

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