Cinnamon-Raisin Breakfast Risotto

This is a rice pudding made the Italian way, risotto style: small quantities of simmering liquid - cinnamon-infused milk, in this case - are added to slowly cooking rice. In main dish risottos, the grains remain slightly al dente. For a Sunday morning breakfast or brunch, you may prefer the rice a little more tender, so feel free to cook it completely. Also, feel free to adjust the amounts of brown sugar and raisins; some of my friends have been asking for more sweetness in this breakfast risotto, others for less...

Ingredients (to serve 4):

3 cups water
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cups Arborio rice (risotto rice, short and round)
3/4 cup dark or golden raisins

Preparation (about 45 minutes):

1. In a saucepan over low heat, combine the water, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer and keep at a very low simmer.

2. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the rice and stir until well coated with butter, about 1 minute.

3. Stir 1 1/2 cups of the simmering milk mixture and the raisins into the rice. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid is absorbed.

4. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering milk mixture and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid is absorbed.

5. Continue adding the milk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is just tender and creamily sauced, about 45 minutes' total cooking time. (Should you use up all of the milk mixture before the rice is tender, continue adding plain simmering water, no more milk.)

6. Season to taste with extra cinnamon, if desired.

Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls and serve immediately, offering brown sugar and unsalted butter at the table ... enjoy!