You will find versions of rice pudding popping up in food cultures all over the world, from Asia to Africa and Europe. Sometimes boiled and sometimes baked, but all with a variety of seasonings. This is a sweet version with Italian flavours, rich and warming yet still with a lovely lightness.






Skill level

Average: 5 (2 votes)


  • 450 g red rhubarb, chopped into 5 cm batons
  • 80 g sugar
  • river salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested, juiced
  • 2 bay leaves, lightly crushed
  • 1 litre full-cream milk
  • 500 ml thin cream
  • 80 g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 40 g butter
  • 300 g carnaroli rice (see Note)
  • 100 ml marsala
  • 60 g mascarpone
  • 80 g pistachios, lightly toasted, roughly chopped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 5 minutes

Place the rhubarb in a bowl with the sugar and mix well until rhubarb is nicely coated. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160ºC. Place the rhubarb in a suitably sized baking tray, add a pinch of salt, a good few turns of black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and throw in the bay leaves. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the rhubarb starts to soften but still holds its shape. You should notice that it has released some lovely, red-coloured juices. Remove bay leaves and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer.

Place a shallow, wide-based saucepan over medium heat. When warm, add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the rice, a pinch of salt and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously, or until rice is lightly toasted and coated in butter.

Pour in the marsala and continue stirring until almost all evaporated. Slowly start adding the milk mixture, a little at a time and only adding more once absorbed, and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 minutes or until all the milk is absorbed. Remove the vanilla bean.

Add the reserved rhubarb and any pan juices and very gently stir to combine with the rice. Add the mascarpone, sprinkle with lemon zest, cover, and set aside for 5 minutes.

Remove lid and give the rice a final gentle stir before spooning into warm bowls. Scatter with pistachios to serve.



• I like using carnaroli rice for this recipe as it has a beautiful texture when cooked, however, feel free to substitute your favourite risotto rice, instead.


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachael Lane. Creative concept by Lou Fay.


Read our interview with Tama. This recipe is from our online column, The seasonal cook: Rhubarb. View previous The seasonal cook columns and recipes.