The beauty of this recipe rests in its simplicity. It’s six ingredients, one saucepan, and one stirring spoon. I use 1% milk and it remains delicious. If I have if after dinner, I can call it dessert. But with two cups of low-fat milk and a few servings of rice, I can also have it when I wake up, and call it breakfast.
I really recommend using a vanilla bean instead of extract. There is no substitute for the bean’s flavor, and the small specks of caviar add a nice touch of contrast to the milk and rice. Vanilla beans are not cheap in stores, but they are very affordable online.
I tried one batch with raisins, but I think the rice pudding is best without them. I also experimented with both long-grain and short-grain rice, and preferred the risotto-like quality that came with using the short-grain.
After these experiments, I had my perfect recipe for
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 2 to 3 Servings
WHAT TO GRAB:
2 1/4 cups 1% milk
1/3 cup arborio rice
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, rice, and salt. Over high heat, heat the mixture until the milk begins to boil. Once it hits a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. By this point, the rice should be very visible within the milk.
2. Using half of a vanilla bean, split the bean vertically. Using the dull end of the knife, scrape the caviar from the bean (see above), and empty the caviar into the rice mixture. Add the sugar and cinnamon, and stir until the rice pudding thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Remove the pudding from the heat. Add the raisins if you like raisins. Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl, cover with foil, and refrigerate anywhere from 1 hour to overnight.
4. Serve lukewarm or cold – though I think it’s best cold!