Spiced Risotto Rice Pudding

 No. No.... Don't tell me you don't like rice pudding!? Ok. Listen here. Take my hand. We can work through this together. So maybe it's not so pretty. Neither are overnight oats, and I know you love them.
 It's warm, it's sweet, fluffy, and spiced just so to caress your tongue. Seriously, how could you say no?

 Yes, it's true, there's a whole lot of stirring.
 And stirring. But face it, aren't there days when you just want to stay at home and wail to the radio while you stand with a happy wooden spoon and stir the inside of a cast iron pot? I do. I have those days. And then perhaps eating all that rice pudding feels a little bit more justified, for the stirring.
 What could make this better? Only a couple fresh-picked blackberries from my grandparent's backyard (I made this in late summer).
Then you cans it down to a warm mug, or, if you really think you can do it, wait a bit longer and eat it cold from the fridge, thicker and silky cool. Or, if you're a fellow new yorker, and the hustle and bustle won't let up long enough for a few hours of stirring, go to Rice to Riches. You won't regret it, believe me. Indeed, it will change your life.

Spiced Risotto Rice Pudding
serves 4
adapted from Joy the Baker

This pudding is unconventionally made with arborio rice. That means you make it a different way: put all the rice in, add a little liquid. Stir. Add more liquid. Stir. And so on, until all is used up. Long, but worth it. And yes, arborio must be used for this technique.
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2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup Arborio rice
3 1/2 to 4 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
large pinch allspice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
blackberries (or any berries) for topping

In a medium saucepan, over low heat, scald 4 cups of milk. Bring the milk to just under boiling, turn off the flame and let it rest. (you can also microwave it if you're a sillyface and you think that will actually cut significant time. Come on, now, you've just invested two hours of your life, you can scald milk properly! Just sayin'.)

Pour oil into a large saucepan, over low heat. Add the rice grains and stir to coat. Ladle in just enough hot milk to cover the rice. Stir over the low flame. The rice will begin to absorb the milk.

When the milk is almost fully absorbed, ladle in more hot milk. Stir until absorbed. Continue this process until you near the end of the milk, then taste. You may only need 3 1/2 cups instead of 4. As you add the last bit of milk, also incorporate the sugar, salt, spices, and scraped vanilla beans. Stir well to combine. This takes over an hour.

Stir over low heat until the milk is gone and the rice is tender, with just a little al dente quality left. This takes around 15-20 minutes.

By now the rice pudding will be slightly loose. If you want it thicker, continue to cook it for a bit longer. Serve warm or cold, with fresh berries or without.

Rice pudding will last, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5-6 days. Good luck with that.

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