In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine rice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Stir once, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 18 minutes. (Do not lift the lid or stir!) Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork and serve.