Arroz con leche (Rice pudding) – my abuelita recipe

1 ltr (34 oz) semi skimmed or whole milk (depends on personal preference, both will work)

200 ml (7 oz) half and half (crema de leche for Spansh speakers)

2 cinnamon sticks in halves

the peel of one medium sized lemon

150 grams (5 oz) of rice (my grandma preferred paella rice, but any rice, as long as it is not the fast cooking kind will do)

120 grams (4 oz) of sugar (I prefer brown sugar, but again, any sugar will do)

Wash rice with abundant water. Once it is rinsed and drained, combine milk and half and half, cinnamon sticks and lemon peel, pour rice and start cooking. Stir permanently with a wooden spoon, making sure to scratch the bottom of the pan (constantly! otherwise it becomes a burning mess!). Once it starts boiling, lower the fire to a minimum, pay close attention because once it starts boiling, unless you act quickly (remove completely from the fire for a moment if necessary!), it will boil out of the pan, like milk tends to do. Once the boiling mess has been averted, increase the temperature little by little. It should boil slowly, like simmering. Continue stirring for a good 30 to 35 minutes minutes. At this point, try for consistency it should be al dente, at least. I prefer it very creamy so I continue stirring for a while longer (45 minutes or a bit more). As a last step add sugar slowly while stirring. Stir for another 5 minutes or so. Remove from fire and let it cool off on the counter.

Transfer to a container and refrigerate accordingly. It stays good for 4 days or so. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon. The quantities above are good for 6 portions but that, of course, varies according to appetite and personal preference.

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