Place the milk, rice, sugar, vanilla and salt in a large pan, stir, and bring to a slow boil. Lower heat and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring until the rice is cooked and pudding thickens.
Remove pan from the heat and cool slightly. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm or cold sprinkled with cinnamon, ground ginger, or fresh lemon zest. Garnish with fresh whipped cream and slivered almonds, if desired.