wild mushroom risotto

A few years ago, when my mom and I had just moved to Durban, my mom was making new friends and having them over for one of her famous dinner parties. From the decked out table to the flowers, my mom is a master at hosting and cooking. The new friends coming over were a delight and she couldn't wait to impress them. Hours before she was in the kitchen cooking away and making sure everything was perfect. We were having prawn risotto. She tucked the completed meal into the warming draw, washed up and got ready for her guests to arrive. After the welcome drinks it was time for dinner. My mom’s new friends were offered to dish up first. Much to my mother shock as she was dishing, she realized that the risotto had gone stogy and was now like porridge, which you couldn't flick of the spoon if you tried. After dinner it came out. Jackie, my mom’s new friend was a chef (which she politely let out during dinner) the laughter that preceded the porridge like risotto has now resulted in a best friendship that has been going for 14 years! 

Risotto has that reputation of being difficult to make and even harder to not over cook. With this recipe I believe we will break boundaries. The biggest trick is to finish it off, as you are about to serve. But who knows, if it bombs there might be a best friendship in the mix for you. 


  • 1 cup wild mushrooms
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 500ml warm water
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 500ml light chicken stock
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 80g parmesan cheese
  • 30g butter
  • Salt and pepper


Remove porcini mushrooms from soaking liquid and gently squeeze. Mix the porcini stock with the chicken stock and reserve for cooking. Chop up the porcini and fresh wild mushrooms. Fry in small batches until nice and caramelised set aside for later. Don’t add to much oil when you are frying, as you don't want them to go soggy. 

Sauté onions gently in olive oil until light golden in colour over a medium heat. 

Add Arborio rice and stir until is completely coated in oil. You will see the rice go slightly translucent while you are frying it with the onions. at this stage you can begin to add the stock. 

Add 100ml hot stock and stir continuously until it has been almost completely absorbed, then add another 100ml. repeat the process with the remaining stock. If you wish to wait until your guests arrive then you will stop the cooking half way through the stock. When your guests arrive put the pan back on your medium heat and continue the process of adding the stock and stirring in until it is absorbed. Remember your stock must be hot! 

Test to see if the rice is cooked when you add the last addition of stock.

The rice should be creamy, tender but with a slight bite. if not quite tender enough continue adding spoonful’s of water until cooked through.

To serve, stir through mushrooms, Parmesan and butter season to taste and serve immediately.