I recently made this coconut arborio rice pudding from a Food & Wine Magazine recipe. Arborio rice is a short-grained rice named after the town of Arborio, Italy where it originated. Today, it is extremely popular in risotto as well as rice puddings like the one I made. The trick to using arborio rice is to constantly stir it. Arborio rice is something that cannot be left alone for a few minutes on the stove or else it will clump up and stick to the bottom of the pan. Constantly stirring is time consuming and annoying, but with a little love, the end result is thick and creamy goodness.
I like this recipe, but did make a few of my own changes. First, the rice pudding did not have as much coconut flavor solely from the coconut milk as I had thought it would, so I added some of the shredded, toasted coconut to the mixture. It gave it more of a coconut kick and also added to the texture of the pudding. Next, I used skim milk instead of whole milk. However, it should be noted that it is sometimes erroneous to substitute skim milk with whole milk. Skim milk is a lot thinner than whole milk and as a result will make your pudding thinner as well. Be prepared to either use less skim milk or more arborio rice. Last, I prefer cold rice pudding, so I refrigerated mine after allowing it to cool completely. I also dotted it with cinnamon since I can’t have rice pudding without a little cinnamon!
1 quart whole milk (I used a little less than 1 quart of skim milk)
1 cup arborio rice (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup coarsely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (my addition)
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, rice and sugar with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 30 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is very tender and the liquid is thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a medium saucepan, toast the coconut over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Spoon the rice pudding into bowls, garnish with the toasted coconut (and cinnamon) and serve. (Printable Recipe)