Rice Pudding

This is a comforting and simple dessert. Use whole or 2 percent milk for best texture and taste. Serve it with strong Greek coffee or espresso.

Serves 6.

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1¼ cups Arborio rice
2 cups water
3 cups milk
Pinch kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup heavy cream
¼ to ⅓ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans, for garnish (optional)

1. Place a medium-size heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the rice and salt, stirring constantly, until the rice is well coated with the butter. Add ¼ cup of the water, stirring constantly until it has been absorbed by the rice. Continue adding the water and then the milk, ½ cup at a time, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes. It should be runny.

2. Place the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and mix well.

3. Add the egg mixture to the rice and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until it is well incorporated. Cook for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

4. Place the cream in a small copper or metal bowl and place in the freezer for 5 minutes. Beat with a whisk until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold into the rice pudding. When it has cooled to room temperature, transfer to individual serving bowls or wine glasses. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Garnish with the walnuts, if desired.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)