{recipe} Sweet Arborio Rice Pudding

I have never been a big fan of rice pudding, but I do love risotto. When I worked at Rose Pistola we made a rice pudding with Arborio rice that utilized the same technique as a risotto, but using cream and milk and plenty of aromatics. I couldn’t remember the exact proportions, but with some experimentation I found a nice balance with this recipe. It’s ultra-creamy, delicious, and satisfying.

I like to stud mine with beautiful, jewel-like apricots and pomegranate seeds in winter, but you can (and should!) experiment with your choice of fruits and nuts to your liking. You can also alter the spices as you wish- I’m sure citrus peel, ginger, lemongrass, or anything else you can think of would work beautifully. The simplicity of this recipe makes it very forgiving in taste and texture.

Sweet Arborio Rice Pudding
This makes 4-6 portions- it’s pretty rich so I made 6 small servings.


  • ¾ cups Arborio rice
  • 2 whole allspice or 2 cloves
  • ½ vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • ¼ cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped finely
  • seeds from ½ pomegranate


  • Put rice, spices, milk and cream in a pot over medium heat. When mixture starts to bubble turn heat to low.
  • Cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is creamy. During cooking, stir with a wooden spoon at least every 5 minutes.
  • Remove spices and gently stir in fruit. Serve immediately
  • To make ahead: Cook recipe using only 2 cups of milk. (Rice will not be fully soft.) Turn off heat and remove spices and aromatics. Cover loosely, leaving lid a little bit open. Before serving, remove lid and add one more cup of milk and heat over low flame, stirring constantly. Gently stir in fruit and serve immediately.

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