Combine milk, sugar and rice in a heavy,
3-quart saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then
reduce heat and cook uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
The milk should just barely simmer, with bubbles breaking only at
the outside edge of the surface. After an hour, the rice should
If you like raisins, add about 1/2 cup
now, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently
now, until the rice has absorbed most of the rest of the milk --
but not all -- and the pudding is creamy, about 20 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Cool thoroughly then chill in the refrigerator. As it chills, the
pudding will thicken. After a few hours in the refrigerator it will
be quite thick, and probably no longer loose enough to be called
"creamy." Just before serving, stir in as much as 2/3 cup whole
milk, half and half, or cream). Serve chilled. (If eating only a
portion of the pudding at a time, divide it before stirring the
additional milk or cream.)