Recipe: Chef Amanda Manyatshe’s African risotto

Risotto doesn't have to be tricky if you try this recipe from chef Amanda Manyatshe. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

It’s the ultimate Italian comfort food – with an African twist. Instead of a silky and tricky arborio rice, chef Amanda Manyatshe makes her wonderfully original risotto with maize rice.

Risotto has a reputation for being one of the harder-to-master Italian dishes. Overcook the rice, and you ruin it in an instant. Over-stir, and you lose the creamy, rich texture risotto for which risotto is renowned.

Cape Town-based chef Amanda Manyatshe may have just the trick up her sleeve – adding a touch of Africa to help you master the gourmet dish.

Manyatshe swops arborio for maize rice, and further embraces the continent by using cowpea leaves.

Try her version of the Western classic – but with African roots – on World Food Day.

ALSO READ: Food, glorious food! Grow it, savour it, share it


For the mushrooms

2 tbsp oil

2-3 tbsp butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

250g white mushrooms, thinly sliced

300g white and brown shimeji mushrooms

salt and pepper to taste

For the risotto

1 tbsp (plus 2 more for later) butter

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 bunch munyeba, chopped

½ cup dry white wine

2 cups maize rice

10 cups mushroom stock or chicken stock (warm)

½ cup cream

½ cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste


Caramelised onions

Cooked shimeji mushrooms

Dried munyeba



1. Add the oil and butter to a pan on medium-high heat. Stir to combine until the butter melts.

2. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are cooked and golden brown. Set aside.

3. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter and once it has melted, add the garlic and onion. Cook until softened and fragrant. Add munyeba and wine and cook until the wine has reduced.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and then add the maize rice and a cup of the warm stock. Keep adding the stock gradually and stirring until the stock is absorbed. Then add more stock each time until the maize rice is cooked. You might not need all the stock.

5. Add the cream and stir vigorously to make the mixture creamy. Add the cooked mushrooms and gently stir them through.

7. Add the parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper, and stir.

8. To serve, spoon the risotto into the bowl, top with caramelised onions and shimeji mushrooms. Sprinkle over some dried munyemba and garnish with microherbs. Enjoy!

ALSO READ: Food, glorious food! Grow it, savour it, share it

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