Rice puddings are familiar, warm, and comforting, just like moms 🙂 Throw in some rhubarb, strawberry, and ruby red port, and you’ll get a kick in the butt like you occasionally might if you misbehaved 😉 Arborio Rice also adds a bite instead of a typical Eastern rice, which would only dissolve like it does in kheer.
I totally went out on a limb with this dish. It is imaginable someone else has tried it, strawberry – rhubarb is a popular combination, but I haven’t seen it in a rice pudding. I’m glad I gave it a go, they really perked up my risotto!
I did learn from one mistake while making this 😛 I needed more milk than I expected, but even while a bit thick at first, it surely tasted good. You can vary the recipe by making it with water instead of milk, or by adding whatever you feel bold enough to risk 🙂 I don’t advocate waste, but calculated risks are worth taking to discover something unique! I used strawberries thinking it needed them, but next time I would use only rhubarb, saving strawberries for a garnish.
I dedicate my sweet, fruity Rhubarb Risotto to my mom, for teaching me to be nice while at the same time being strong and independent! Mom, thank you for standing by me in the toughest times, and for pushing me to overcome the highest hurdles.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms … you do the best and the hardest job in the world!
2 tbspn unsalted butter
1/2 cup Arborio rice
3 cups milk
1/4 tspn Saigon cinnamon
4-5 sliced strawberries
2-3 sticks sliced rhubarb
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
couple of splashes of ruby porto — I used Warre’s 1995 LBV, shown above
squeeze of fresh lime, or lemon, orange, any fresh citrus
1. In a small sauce pan on medium heat, add the rhubarb, sugar, and lime juice. Let them heat to a simmer.
2. Add the strawberries and a splash of port, and simmer for few more minutes until the port reduces, and the mixture thickens. Taste and add more sugar if needed at this point. Take it off the heat and set it aside to cool. At this point you could call it a compote, and use it as such 🙂
5. Melt the butter in a larger pot on medium heat. Stir in the dry rice, turn up the heat, and let it cook for a couple minutes as the pan heats up.
6. Add about half a cup of milk at a time, while stirring to make sure all the milk is absorbed before you add the next half cup.
7. As you add the milk, you are also stirring to make sure a cream film does not form. As the rice cooks it will double in volume. Once you add the last half cup of milk, and while you are still stirring, add the cinnamon, stirring it in, too.
8. Stop and taste to make sure the risotto is cooked. If not, then cover it and cook on low heat with some more milk. The cooking time and amount of liquid needed may vary based on the Arborio you use.
9. Once the risotto is cooked, take it off the heat and mix in the cooled rhubarb compote.
Serve the dish right away, while still warm, for the best flavor. I added a fresh sprig of mint 🙂 One other note — try the compote separately alongside a sip (or two) of porto, and you’ll be amazed how they sparkle!