1 cup water 1/2 cup long-grain white rice 4 cups whole milk 1/2 cup sugar 3 (4-inch) strips lemon zest 1 (3-to 4-inch) cinnamon stick 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Garnish: ground cinnamon
1 Bring water to a boil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large heavy saucepan. Stir in rice and return to a boil. Cook, covered, over low heat until water is absorbed, about 18 minutes.
2 Stir in milk, sugar, zest, and cinnamon stick and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until thickened and rice is tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in vanilla.
3 Cool to lukewarm in a large shallow bowl, surface covered with a piece of buttered wax paper.