I really can’t think of a better day to make this dish than today. It’s cold, cloudy and all I want to do is eat complex carbs, sprinkle cinnamon on them and then take a nap. The other day, I found a recipe in my cute little French non-diet diet book for a simple chocolate rice pudding. I started improvising and adding cinnamon. Then more cinnamon. Then some cream, then more vanilla. It started tasting exactly like horchata, my favorite Mexican beverage, and I was happy. I even thought, “Why ruin this horchata by adding the chocolate the recipe calls for?” So I ladled out half of the rice pudding and added the chocolate to the other half. Woah. Insanely good. The intense cinnamon and vanilla, mixed with the dark chocolate was a revelation. Such a depth of flavor you wouldn’t really expect from something as seemingly bland as a rice pudding. It was amazing. And with just a little extra cream to loosen up the consistency, it was exactly the way risotto should be, only sweet! Dessert risotto – you heard it here first, folks. I think it should be a “thing” if it isn’t already. It’s going to be a “thing” in this house, at least!
Horchata/Mexican Chocolate Risotto
serves 4 as a dessert
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup Arborio rice (this is risotto rice that plumps up and absorbs a lot of moisture. I’d really recommend not using any other kind)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbs cinnamon
– then, for Mexican Chocolate, stir in 3 ounces dark chocolate chips (the darker the better – I used 70%)
Pour the milk, sugar and salt into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the rice and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the milk is absorbed. You may need to add a few more splashes of milk or cream to keep the rice creamy. It may take more time and more milk in order for the rice to not be crunchy anymore.
Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon and taste. Revel. Feel happy. Then, when you’re ready, add in the chocolate to the entire batch or just half, like I did. Stir until fully melted and incorporated. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon and a sprinkle of cayenne if you dare. Serve with a warm cup of hot chocolate and be sure you’re wearing fuzzy slippers.