Rice Pudding with Strawberry Topping

I first fell in love with rice pudding when I visited my BFF in New York.  We went to Rice to Riches and I was in heaven.  The creamy texture, the rich flavors, the creativity in toppings all came together and made perfection.  Every time I go to NYC, I make at least one stop to try a new flavor.  

I don't know when I'll get back to NYC, especially since my lovely BFF has moved to Korea to teach, so I decided to experiment with making rice pudding on my own.  The flavor of this recipe was spot on, but the creamy texture didn't last.  This is a great one if you intend to serve it soon after making (and if you're looking for a healthy alternative to the dessert), but the longer it sat in the fridge, the more liquid the rice absorbed.  Still, it tasted good so I thought I'd share it anyway.  I'll keep you posted on my experiments so you'll know when I discover the perfect rice pudding recipe!

Rice Pudding
What You Need:
1/2 cup Arborio rice
4 cups reduced fat milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

What To Do:
1. In a medium saucepan, add all the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil.
2. Once the rice starts boiling, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes.  Stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking.
3. Transfer to serving dish and cover with plastic wrap.  Let cool in the fridge.
Note: Some people actually like a little skin to form on top of the rice pudding as it cools.  If you're one of those people, don't cover with plastic wrap while it cools. 

Strawberry Topping (ignore the chipped dish!)
 What You Need:
1 cup strawberries, cleaned and sliced into quarters
2-3 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how ripe the berries are
1/8 - 1/4 cup water (honestly, I just dumped a little bit in here and didn't measure - you don't need much)
2 teaspoons lemon juice

What To Do:
1. In a small or medium saucepan, heat all ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. 
2. Let boil for about 5 minutes or so, till the sauce begins to thicken.
3. Remove from the stove and let cool.  This topping is wonderfully sweet and flavorful.  It's great on top of plain cake, ice cream, or mixed with some plain yogurt, too!


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