Rice pudding is a simple stovetop dessert made from rice, sugar, whole milk and a pinch of salt. It can easily be dressed up to accommodate any occasion with spices, nuts, fruit, honey or whipped cream.
Rice pudding can be made with a variety of uncooked rice. Long- or short-grain white rice is traditional, but brown or Arborio rice work just as well. Whole grain brown rice can be used as a healthier alternative to white rice, as it adds a chewier texture and a slightly nutty flavor. Arborio rice is the type used to make risotto; it adds a firmness and creamy texture to rice pudding.
To begin, combine a quart of whole milk with a cup of rice, approximately ¼ cup of granulated sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. On medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, but do not let it boil over. For brown or white rice, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency. If using Arborio rice, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Use ingredients on hand to flavor the pudding. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract or honey for spice and sweetness. Stir in nuts, fresh fruit, such as bananas or pineapple, or dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries. For extra richness, mix in a beaten egg, stirring constantly for about two minutes until the egg is cooked and the pudding has thickened.
Rice pudding can be served warm or chilled. If desired, add a dollop of whipped cream on top of each serving.