Temperatures dropped slightly here in southern California and we even had a few drops of rain a couple of days ago! High school girls dug out their boots from the closets to replace the flip-flops, mothers started the obligatory seasonal cleaning, and the ceiling fans took a break, even if it is only temporarily.
There are pumpkins everywhere; in front of the stores, on the thresholds, in the yards, piled in the back of a pick up truck, leaning against bales of hay. We crave a different season and take even the slightest change in weather as a sign that we can go ahead and forget that we live in eternal summer.
I am no different and a soon as I spot a cloud hiding behind a tall, skinny California palm tree, I dig up my Dutch oven, I buy new pumpkin pie spices, and I start thinking about stick-to-your-ribs stews and flavorful, comforting desserts.
Rice pudding jumps right at the front of the queue, as it is the quintessential comfort food whose only purpose is to warm your heart and make you feel safe and cozy. We might not have the icy northern winds beating against our windows, but a bowl of soft, milky rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon tastes good in any weather.
250gr Arborio rice
1 quart (1 l) water
2-3 cups of milk
¼ cups granulated sugar
½ cup raisins (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon
Rinse the rice and place in the heavy pot. Cover with the water and heat to boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minute, until almost done and water almost evaporates.
Add the milk little by little and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes, until creamy and thickened (depending on the type and initial doneness of the rice, you might need between 2 and 3 cups of milk). Keep in mind that it will thicken more as it stands after it’s taken off the heat.
Stir in the raisins if using and sugar and pour into serving dishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and let stand at room temperature. (You can also refrigerate it if you choose).