Naturally Zimbabwean

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Zimbabwe Risotto with Pumpkin

If you are trying to think of something a little different to do with African brown rice try this recipe adapted from using local ingredients.

Risotto is a traditional Italian dish and can be adapted to produce a delicious, balanced meal cooked in one pot. The type of rice used is important. It needs to have a short grain in order to produce a creamy texture when cooked. African brown rice is perfect for the job so try this healthy recipe using local ingredients with an Italian flavour.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ⅓ cup finely chopped shallots or onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1¼ cups uncooked African brown rice (mupunga)
  • 2½ cups cubed, peeled pumpkin or butternut
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional additions: wild mushrooms (soaked if dry), spinach (cooked or raw), cooked cowpeas, bacon, cooked shredded chicken.


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; cook for one minute or until tender, stirring constantly.
  2. Add garlic; cook for three minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add wine; cook for one minute or until liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add the rice; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup stock mixture; cook 6 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
  5. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 55 minutes in total).
  6. Stir in pumpkin during last 15 minutes of cooking time.
  7. Stir in cheese and remaining ingredients.
  8. Serve

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