Who needs a little comfort? How about some creamy rice pudding? How do you like yours, hot or cold? With raisins or without? Me, I like it cold without the raisins, but if you like it hot, so be it... you like raisins, no problem. This recipe is easily adapted to suit your taste. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind when making it. Milk, rice, and sugar all burn easily, so be sure to use a good quality heavy-bottomed sauce pan - tri-ply, enameled cast iron.. something along those lines. The next thing is to keep an eye on the mixture while it's cooking - stay in or near the kitchen and you should be good.
(arborio rice, left; long grain rice, right)
Lastly, I like to use Arborio rice. You can use long grain rice if that's all you have, but Arborio is the same rice used to make risotto, and we all know how creamy risotto is, right? That's because Arborio has a higher starch content than long grain rice, so naturally it makes a creamier rice pudding.
Arborio Rice Pudding
make four 1-cup servings
1/2 cup Arborio rice
4 cups milk (your choice)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (to taste)
1 egg yolk (optional, but will add a bit of luxury to the finished texture)
Sprinkling of cinnamon (optional)
In a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan, place rice, milk, sugar, and butter; stir.
Bring to a boil; stirring occasionally.
Add raisins if using; reduce heat to a gentle bubble and stir frequently for 20-30 minutes until the rice is plump and creamy (see note below) - don't walk away during this step.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and optional egg yolk if using.
Serve immediately or transfer to a storage container and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming; chill completely.
To speed the chilling process along, pour onto a large rimmed cookie sheet before covering with plastic and placing it in the fridge.
Sprinkle with a little cinnamon before serving.
If you plan to serve the rice pudding hot, cook to desired serving consistency.
If you plan to serve it cold, it will firm up when chilled so stop cooking when the consistency is a bit looser than you want.
If you find your chilled rice pudding is too firm, stir in a little cream or half and half.