Make a rich and tasty rice pudding, Venetian-style, using creamy Italian arborio rice flavored with raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest.
This dessert–or breakfast–depending on your preference truly is an Italian recipe “made simple”. It just requires a little measuring and a little scraping. First with the nutmeg, then with the orange zest. But this dish cooks completely on the stovetop. It’s a little labor-intense at the end because the arborio must be stirred frequently while it’s cooking down to its luscious, creamy softness.
You can find fresh nutmeg at specialty stores. Some grocery stores have it. I saw a jar recently at Trader Joe’s. You can use either a microplane to grate it or a little nutmeg grater that I have here that I received as a gift. It’s a cute little bugger but it always seems to get lost in my kitchen. If it’s convenient for you, it’s also perfectly fine to use powdered nutmeg out of a spice jar.
The microplane is one of the handiest of kitchen tools, especially helpful for quickly grating citrus zest, like the orange zest you need for this recipe.
If you’d rather not plump the raisins in brandy, you can plump them in water or a little milk. Plumping softens them up for the pudding and is worth the effort.
Making Dolce di Riso Al Veneziano: Rice Pudding Venetian-Style
In a heavy saucepan, bring the milk, cream and vanilla to a soft boil then remove the pan from the heat. Instead of an extract, you can toss in a fully split vanilla bean but let’s face it, they’re expensive and ugly and a good extract tastes good too. For convenience, though, you can use the extract from your local grocery store or a great-tasting brand I bought at Sur la Table: Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. Same amount as the liquid extract: one teaspoon.
Soak the raisins in the liquid. Then measure out or grate your next ingredients: sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest and add them to the milk/cream mixture. Stir gently. Add the rice to this mixture and return it to the heat. Bring it to a simmer and cook very low, stirring frequently, for about 35 minutes. Stir in the raisins [and remove the vanilla bean if you’ve used one] and you’re ready to serve hot. The pudding is also dee-lish the next day cold, right out of the fridge. Enjoy!
Rice Pudding Venetian-style
Yield: Serves 4
Total Time: one hour
- two and a half cups of milk
- one cup heavy cream
- one teaspoon vanilla extract
- one-quarter cup sugar
- one-quarter teaspoon cinnamon
- one pinch freshly-grated nutmeg
- one tablespoon grated orange zest
- one-half cup raisins
- one tablespoon sweet Marsala or brandy
- one-half cup arborio rice
- Pour the milk, cream and vanilla into a heavy saucepan and bring to a soft boil, then remove from the heat.
- Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest and set aside.
- Soak the raisins in a small bowl with the brandy.
- Add the rice to the milk and return to the heat.
- Bring rice to a simmer and stir slowly every few. Invites for about 35 minutes until the rice is creamy.
- Stir in the raisins and serve hot or put in the fridge and serve cold.
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