There are few cooking shows I watch and think “I could do that,” but Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, keeps her approach to food simple and elegant. It makes it seem doable for at-home cooks like me.
On a recent episode, she made a rum raisin rice pudding. In her recipe, Garten uses basmati rice and half-and-half, but all I had in my cupboard was arborio that I had purchased with the intention of making white truffle risotto. Arborio is a short-grain Italian rice that is used for creamy rice dishes because of its absorbency. Because it’s a short-grain rice, I only needed four cups of milk instead of the five cups her recipe used. I also opted for vanilla soy milk since I don’t drink regular milk, and it worked well.
The last time I used rum in a recipe the flavor was too strong. I worried about it with this pudding and, after tasting the finished product while it was still warm, felt like I had used too much. However, after refrigerating it overnight, the flavors came together and the rum wasn’t as pronounced. If I make this again and plan to eat it warm, I won’t toss in the rum that doesn’t get soaked up by the raisins because it would overpower the other flavors.
Sometimes it’s nice to have something sweet and simple in the fridge. This rice pudding definitely fits the bill.
3/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups soy milk, whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum. Set aside.
Combine the rice and salt with 1 1/2 cups water in a medium heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stir once, and simmer, covered, on the lowest heat for 8 to 9 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. (If your stove is very hot, pull the pan halfway off the burner.)
Stir in 4 cups of soy milk and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, until the rice is very soft. Stir often, particularly toward the end. Slowly stir in the beaten egg and continue to cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, add the vanilla and the raisins with any remaining rum. Stir well. Pour into a bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or chilled.