That is, until a couple of days ago.
I love rice pudding. It is the ultimate comfort food for me. Rich, sweet, creamy, full of starchy carbs.....it is just perfect. tangent: No raisins, please. Don't even make the pudding with raisins and then tell me to pick them out. When you make rice pudding with raisins the flavour permeates the pudding so the whole thing tastes like raisins. Yuck.
So, a couple of days ago I get out my copy of Nigella Bites. There is a recipe in the book for "Rice Pudding for Emergencies." It is made on top of the stove with Arborio Rice and you cook it like you would cook risotto. About half an hour standing at the stove stirring and you get gorgeous creamy, rich rice pudding. The extra starch in the Arborio rice gives the pudding fantastic consistency. Really. I liken it to that really expensive Kozy Shack pudding you find in the refrigerator aisle at the grocery store, only the grains are bigger and more toothsome.
Really. This pudding is fantastic. It is fantastic on a few levels:
- When the kids have been screaming and fighting for half a day and you need to hide for a while, just put on some soothing music in the kitchen. (CBC Radio 2 is my radio station of choice.) Pour a cup of coffee and plant yourself at the stove, and meditate on the soothing repetitive action that you MUST do. You must not leave the stove.
- After the therapeutic stirring portion is complete, you get a smooth, sweet warm treat that you can either shovel in standing at the stove, or split up and share with the ungrateful rugrats who seem intent on giving you ten new grey hairs every day.
- If you share with the rugrats, you get at least two minutes of silence while they eat their shares.
- If you share with the rugrats you get to have a Good Mommy Moment where you can revel in the smug satisfaction that you have made something nourishing from scratch for them. Stirring for 20 minutes at the stove instead of microwaving something or throwing something out of a package at the kids gives you Bonus Points.
- In my draughty house, stirring something at the stove for 20 minutes is sometimes the only way I can warm up now that winter has really settled in here.
Heat just over two cups of milk in the microwave until scalded.
While that is cooking, melt a tablespoon of butter and a couple of spoonfuls of white sugar in a heavy saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons Arborio rice and stir to coat. Add the milk, a splash at a time, stirring all the while. Keep the mixture at a brisk simmer. The pudding is done when the rice has absorbed enough milk to be soft and creamy. That takes at least 20-30 minutes of stirring. Add a splash of vanilla extract at the end and more sugar, if desired. I like to garnish with a sprinkle from my vanilla sugar grinder.
You can take any basic risotto recipe and sub butter for olive oil, sugar for the onion and milk for the stock. Finish with a splash of vanilla extract and some cream, if you really need to guild the lily. (Hmmmm, I wonder if a splash of Bailey's would be good if the kids are in bed and you have a girl movie queued on the DVD player?)