Greek cuisine is one of those in the world that mix flavor and health together with nature and sustainability. Being part of what is known as Mediterranean cuisine, Greek people are proud of having a nutritional, economical and cultural tradition with natural ingredients coming together in simple meals. But in this case, simple is not a synonym of tasteless. Quite on the contrary, Greek cuisine shows a proficient use of raw ingredients seasoned with regional condiments such as oregano, garlic, onion and their star element: olive oil.
Fun fact: Greek dishes are also quite inclusive and versatile as for every dish which may include a typical element such as seafood, you can find a vegetarian version that is equally easy to make. Vegetarian meals themselves can be actually traced back to Greece and their use of natural ingredients.
Influenced and influential
Even if it shows some influences from Italian gastronomy, Greek cuisine has been a major influence itself for others around the world, especially when it comes to sustainability, which is naturally becoming more and more important when adopting techniques and building up a regional cuisine. The reason for such popularity has to do with the fact that it’s one of the few cuisines that combines exotic with familiar elements: it’s both healthful and flavor-packed, simple and delicious.
Rice in Greek cuisine
Among its traditional elements, rice plays an important role in spite of the fact that it became essential quite late, around the 50s. From that moment, rice became the most used grain in this cuisine and nowadays, it’s used not only for lunch and dinner, but even for some typical desserts.
Rizogalo, which is the Greek name for rice pudding, mixes both ingredients included in the name, rice and milk. This typical Greek dessert is creamy, easy to make, supper affordable and, not to mention, quite tasty. Right, it’s great, but as you need to cook rice on stove, this versatile dessert will need your undivided attention so it doesn’t burn and gets thick as it should. To get the right thickness, Arborio rice is the best fit for this rice pudding.
- 1 cup of Arborio rice.
- 2 cups of water.
- 4 ½ cups of milk.
- 1 cup of whipping cream.
- 1 tablespoon of salt.
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract.
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- In a big pot, place a cup of Arborio rice and two cups of water, add a pinch of salt and place the pot on a high heat. Bring this to a boil. Let it cook for about fifteen minutes. Do not leave the pot, stir from time to time, if not continuously, so as the rice does not burn.
- The rice will absorb the water, but if it absorbs all of it and it’s not completely cooked, add some more water and keep stirring to get the rice thick and soft.
- Take the pot out of the heat and add four cups of milk and one cup of heavy whipping cream. Mix the ingredients.
- Add one cup of sugar. Give it a mix so the liquids blend together.
- Take the pot back to the stove and cook, stirring continuously. Rice will get thicker. Cook for about half an hour. This is an approximate time, the idea is that the rice gets thick and tender so, keep an eye on the pot and be ready to turn the heat off once the rice is ready.
- In a small bowl, pour two tablespoons of cornstarch and mix it with some milk. Add it to the big pot and mix to blend everything. Cook for about ten minutes and turn the heat off.
- Add two tablespoons of vanilla extract and mix.
- Serve in individual bowls and sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Set aside and let the pudding set.
You can take it to the fridge for about an hour to eat it cool. If you want to make it more citric, instead of the vanilla extract, you can use lemon or orange zest in that step.
There you have a great and delicious option for a dessert as a grand finale to your Greek theme dinner.