ofm top twenty: mascarpone rice with blueberries

i have to confess, i do love rice pudding. both hot and cold, traditional versions with minimal flavourings (although i do have a preference for eating them with a combination of evaporated and condensed milk, rather than the traditional and more austere option of jam!) as well as those with more exotic flavours such as rose or orange blossom water. so, i was delighted to see this nigel slater recipe for mascarpone rice with blueberries within the ofm top twenty.

so how did i get on?

this is a wonderfully easy recipe to pull together – the rice pudding is cooked on the stove top and the berries are only briefly heated so they release their juices and a small amount of syrup forms. blueberries are not a favourite of mine and a spoonful of them on their own was not something i enjoyed but when combined with the rice pudding they were perfectly acceptable; i do think other berries would be a better option though – blackcurrants would be heavenly, or raspberries if you want something lighter.

the final verdict:

would i have tried this recipe if it hadn't been part of the ofm top twenty? yes – well, i’d have adapted it, using a different fruit, for the reasons mentioned above

would i try this recipe again in the future? yes – i love it! the rice pudding itself is just fabulous – the mascarpone adds a lovely richness and its flavour really comes though. i tried this both warm and cold and enjoyed both versions. as well as the variations on fruit i think the rice component could also handle tweaks – citrus zest and flower waters are obvious starting points; crunchy toasted nuts would also be good, with or without the fruit.

nigel slater’s mascarpone rice with blueberries (serves 4)

150g arborio or other risotto rice

500ml water

500ml full cream milk

3 tablespoons caster sugar

100g mascarpone

for the blueberry sauce:

250g blueberries (or other berries)

2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

3 tablespoons water

lemon juice

put the pudding rice in a medium-sized, heavy-based pan with 500ml of water. let it boil until the water has almost evaporated. keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally. add the milk, bring back to the boil then lower the heat so that it simmers gently, partially cover with a lid, simmer and leave for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly and keeping a close watch on the liquid level.

meanwhile, to make the blueberry sauce, tip the blueberries into a pan, add the sugar, water and a good squeeze of lemon juice, then simmer until the berries burst. continue until the liquid turns slightly syrupy, about 5 or 6 minutes. set aside.

when the rice is plump and creamy, stir in the sugar and let it dissolve, then fold in the mascarpone. spoon into four dishes and pour over the blueberry sauce.