The Good News The arborio rice in Joe Bastianich's lightly sweet pudding provides complex carbohydrates for energy. Since the pudding keeps well in the refrigerator, Joe Bastianich makes it in big batches, then reheats portions for quick breakfasts.
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1/4 cup ruby port
2 tablespoons sugar
Four 3-inch-long strips of orange zest
1 bay leaf
8 fresh figs, stemmed
Pinch of salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup arborio rice
2 cups plain soy milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
How to Make It
In a medium nonstick skillet, combine the port with the sugar, orange zest, cloves, bay leaf and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. When the sugar dissolves, add the figs, stem ends up, and simmer over low heat until the figs are almost completely tender, about 20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup more water as needed if the liquid gets too syrupy. Discard the orange zest, cloves and bay leaf.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil with the salt. Add the rice and cook over low heat, stirring often, until most of the water has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup of the soy milk and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue adding the soy milk 1/3 cup at a time and stirring constantly until it is absorbed between additions; after the soy milk is absorbed, the rice should be creamy and tender. Stir in the honey and vanilla.
Spoon the rice pudding into bowls. Top with the figs and some of the poaching syrup and serve right away.
The poached figs can be refrigerated in their syrup overnight. Reheat gently, adding a bit more water as needed. The rice pudding can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently, adding more soy milk as needed.