While I love bread pudding, I only sort of like rice pudding… it has something to do with having too many bad ones, I think. Ones that are too loose, not enough starch, so it’s basically cooked rice, served cold (yuck!), in sweetened milk. I do, however, love risotto. I also love the spices and the warmth that’s found in most decent rice puddings. I went to Bob’s Red Mill this weekend, one of my new favorite places to shop for pantry staples. They have an unbelievable bulk selection, including gluten-free flours and mixes that are about 1/3 of the price of the prepackaged stuff. I bought a couple pounds of arborio rice. Last night, there was a commercial for a cooking competition on Food Network where they featured some sort of rice pudding. I started to look up recipes and all of them seemed to consist of cooked long-grain white rice and milk. Then, I thought to myself, “why can’t I make a rice pudding, risotto style, but sweet instead of savory?” I found a great recipe that only took about 20 minutes to make. Granted, it was still risotto, so it was 20 minutes of babysitting the pot on the stove.
This is my adaptation of the recipe for Risotto Rice Pudding from Joy the Baker.
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup arborio rice
3 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp each of salt, cardamom, nutmeg
Heat the milk to just boiling in a saucepan, then set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Your yield will be about 4 cups and you will want enough space to stir and maintain temperature while cooking the risotto. Once the butter has melted, stir in the rice. Stir constantly for a few minutes, allowing the rice to become fragrant but not brown.
Ladle enough hot milk to cover the rice and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this until you have used most of the milk, or the rice is cooked to your desired level of tenderness. It took me about 20 minutes to get it to a nice “al dente”. Along with the last addition of milk, I add the brown sugar, vanilla and spices.
I served it warm with macerated strawberries. Delicious!