Friday, 4 May 2012

Arancini - Sicilian Rice Balls

Arancini are traditional Sicilian rice balls. The name comes from their shape; in fact they look like little oranges (arance-> arancine), which are a typical product of Sicily. These Sicilian rice balls are filled with Bolognese sauce and cheese, and then coated in egg and breadcrumbs and fried. Outside they are crispy and inside tasty and creamy… Just delicious.

To delight yourself with these goodies, you can travel all the way to Sicily or you can prepare them yourself with this recipe which comes straight from the kitchen of a Sicilian lady. Grazie signora Antonietta!


Ingredients for 10-12 arancini:
400 gr of short grain rice
2 eggs
20 gr of butter
50 gr of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 bag of saffron, 0.5 gr

Ingredients for the filling:
400 gr of Bolognese meat sauce (made with pork ground meat, tomato sauce and olive oil)
100 gr peas, boiled
125 gr mozzarella cheese, diced
125 gr cheddar cheese, diced

Ingredients for coating:
1-2 eggs
200 gr breadcrumbs

Ingredients for frying:
1 l of sunflower oil

How to prepare:
Half boil the rice in salted water. Then drain, put it in a large bowl and let cooling. When it will be tepid add the eggs, the butter, the saffron and the Parmigiano cheese. Stir well and then taste of salt, if needed add some more. Cover the bowl with a sheet of cling film and let the rice stand at least for a couple of hours.

In a bowl mix the Bolognese sauce with the boiled peas. In another bowl mix the two cheeses. In a plate whisk the egg and in a second plate spread the breadcrumbs.

Now put two tablespoon of rice in the palm of your hand. Spread it and then put in the middle a few dices of cheese and a tablespoon of Bolognese sauce. Then form a cup with the rice and add another tablespoon of rice on the top in order to close it. Now with your hands you should be able to shape a ball of the size of a baseball ball. 

Finally, lightly coat the rice ball in the egg, then in the bread crumbs and put it on a tray. Proceed like this until you finish all the rice. Every two rice balls you will have probably to wash your hands because the rice will start to stick. When you have finished preparing the rice balls, let them stand for a couple of hours in the fridge.

In a pot heat the sunflower oil on high heat. When the oil will be hot, fry the rice balls, 3 or 4 at the same time. Fry them for around 4-5 minutes, until they will be golden; then take the rice balls from the pot and set on kitchen paper to dry from the oil. While you fry it is important that the oil will be always very hot or the rice balls will soak the oil and eventually break.

Serve immediately and enjoy Sicily!

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