Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Stir in rice; reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed – about 15 minutes. Make sure rice doesn’t burn or stick to bottom of pot. Rice will be a bit ‘al dente’. Remove rice from pot and set aside. Wash and dry the pot before going on step #2.
Add milk to the same 4-quart pot used in step #1. Heat milk until it is warm, but not boiling. Add the al dente rice to the warm milk and cook on low to medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should be thickening at this point, as the milk begins to evaporate. Stir in the salt and sugar; cook for 15 minutes more and continue to stir. The mixture should begin to resemble thickened rice pudding. Remove from heat and stir in the rose water, if using.
Pour pudding into individual dessert dishes; allow cool at room temperature. Serve immediately. The pudding can also be served chilled. Sprinkle top with cinnamon just before serving, if desired.