Monday, August 22, 2011
I love Greek food, so I was naturally excited when our new team intern at the office instituted a monthly international lunch and the theme for the inaugural event was Greek. The concept was simple: each month we'd designate a cuisine and everyone would bring in a dish representative of that cuisine to share for a team lunch. I immediately thought of about a dozen dishes, but then cold, stark reality set in. See, many of my teammates do not share my willingness to try just about anything you set in front of me (cross off grilled baby octopus salad). In fact, we have 2 vegetarians (cross off chicken souvlaki), and some other limitations as well. Plus, the lunch was on a Friday and I had a late meeting the evening before...
Oh and perhaps the most limiting: the only means of heating food in the office is a MICROWAVE!?!
I mean, come on, spanikopita in a microwave? (Somebody's little Greek grandmother just turned over in her grave at the very mention of it.)
So I needed something new... something I could make with ingredients I already had, in a limited amount of time and that would not need reheating... Thus, my quest led me to Rizogalo, or Greek rice pudding. I made a modified version of a recipe I found on Food for the Thoughtless. I scanned the ingredients and yes, I had all of them!
I don't really like rice pudding - or at least I thought I didn't, but this is GOOD. Sprinkled with a little cinnamon and a few toasted almonds. Delish!
The lunch was a hit - we had stuffed grape leaves, lots of hummus, a couple of Greek salads, olives, cheeses... and rice pudding for dessert!
Next month we've chosen Italian... So we'll have to see what I come up with for that one... In the meantime, give this a whirl and leave a comment to let me know what you think.
Rizogalo: Greek rice pudidng
4 ½ cups whole milk
3/4 cups arborio rice
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or more to taste)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Cinnamon and toasted almonds for garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil, then let simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add rice and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently (think of it as a very loose risotto– you want to release the rice starch).
Temper the egg yolks with some of the hot milk, then add the yolk/milk mixture to the simmering rice. Stir in sugar. Continue to cook, stirring frequently (almost constantly) until you can draw a line in the custardy sauce on the back of a wooden spoon. Add Vanilla extract. If you like your rice pudding loose and very creamy, stop cooking now. If you like it firmer and drier, continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Pour out into a large bowl to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, garnish with cinnamon and toasted almonds.