1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 3/4 cups milk (at least 2% -- whole is better)
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a three-quart pot, bring the cup of water, tablespoon of butter, and a pinch of salt to a boil (cover the pot, it'll boil faster.) Once it hits a boil, add the rice, give a brief stir to evenly distribute it, and once the water is back up to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for five to ten minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, mix 1 3/4 cups of the milk and the cream together. When the rice is ready, turn the heat up to medium and add the sugars, another pinch of salt, and a 1/4 to 1/3 cup dose of the milk mixture. Stirring constantly, add the milk mixture one dose at a time, only adding the next addition after the previous one has absorbed and thickened. When the rice is fully cooked, the mixture is thick and shiny, and about 1/2 cup of milk remains, turn off the heat and stir in the rest of the milk and the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (pressing the wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate until cool. Serve with a dash of cinnamon, if desired.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg
Grate a tiny bit of fresh nutmeg and toss a dash of cinnamon into the mixture with the next-to last addition of milk. Go easy on the nutmeg -- one or two grates along the microplane is enough. Serve 1/3 cup pudding over a sliced fresh peach and top with another dash of cinnamon.
I'm also thinking a version with a little Gran Marnier and orange zest would be pretty tasty, especially if served over fresh cherries -- and, because I am a serious lover of coconut, I plan on developing a coconut version as well. Wouldn't that be tasty with some fresh mango?