Arancini are Sicilian rice balls—rice mixed with cheese, peas, and other goodies, coated in breadcrumbs and then deep fried. They are a delicious treat, and one that is extremely easy to make. In fact, if you are already an experienced cook, you will be able to whip up a batch of arancini in as little as 30 minutes.
Often Sicilian rice balls are made with leftover risotto, but this recipe is so delicious you’ll want to make a risotto casserole for it! Also known as Sicilian arancini, these are risotto balls stuffed with cheese and baked until golden brown. This recipe is even more special than the classic Italian rice balls, because we filled the balls not only with cheese, but also with a rich pork ragu sauce. Just when you thought Sicilian arancini couldn’t get any better. The rice is moist and tasty on the inside and crispy and crumbly on the outside. With this arancini recipe you can make delicious, crispy balls of tender risotto in no time!
What are Sicilian arancini?
Historians don’t know exactly where risotto balls come from. Different cultures have their own recipes, which differ in terms of shape, filling and risotto. Sicilian arancini are special because the rice is dyed with saffron, which gives the balls a unique golden color.
Preparation of Sicilian rice balls
To make Sicilian arancini, you must first cook the rice. Bring the water to a boil, add the salt and rice and simmer for 15 minutes. Now add the saffron (dissolved in a little hot water), butter and cheese. Place the rice on a flat baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for several hours.
For the filling: Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the pork and fry until done. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until it begins to evaporate. Add the tomato sauce and spices and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook for another 10 minutes.
Once the rice has cooled completely, it can be made into Sicilian arancini. Take a piece of rice in your hands and press it a little flat. Add a teaspoon of meat sauce and a few slices of cheese. Close with a ball of arancino and give it a pointed shape.
Mix the water, flour and salt in a bowl. Dip the Sicilian arancini one by one in the flour mixture and then roll them through the breadcrumbs. Bake them until they are golden brown.
Tips for the preparation of Sicilian rice balls
Regular medium-grain rice is not suitable for this recipe. You need short grain arborio rice. This type of rice contains just the right amount of starch to give your Sicilian arancini a creamy texture.
The possibilities for toppings are almost endless. If you don’t want to use pork stew, you can use cooked shrimp or another meat filling. For a vegetarian option, try spinach and feta cheese.
How to store Sicilian Arancini
Leftover Sicilian arancini can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Heat for 15 minutes in a 350°F oven. You can reheat it in the microwave, but the balls won’t get as crispy.
The rice for the risotto can be prepared the day before cooking and stored in the refrigerator. You can also prepare the meat sauce a day or two in advance. You can also freeze the meat sauce in portions. The fried arancini can be frozen. Place the balls on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer. After freezing, they can be placed in a Ziploc bag and put back in the freezer. Heat it in the oven.
Bring the water to a boil, add the salt and rice and simmer for 15 minutes.
Dissolve the saffron in a little hot water and add it to the rice.
Add the butter and grated cheese.
Place the rice on a shallow baking sheet with a low rim, cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.
For the filling: Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan.
Add the chopped onion, fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the minced meat, fry until cooked through. Add the wine and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Now add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook for another 10 minutes.
Once the rice has cooled completely, you can form the arancini.
Take two tablespoons of rice at a time, crush the mound in the center of your palm to make a dimple, and pour in a teaspoon of meat sauce, add a few cubes of cheese.
Then cover the bottom with the arancino rice and give it a nice shape. Mix the water, flour and salt in a bowl. Then dip the arancini one by one into the dough, making sure they are completely covered, and bread them.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Use a heavy-bottomed pan to ensure the oil heats evenly (no cold or hot spots). Do not overfill the pan, or the eggs will not cook evenly.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What ingredients are in Arancini?
Although arancini are not widely known outside of Sicily, these small dumplings are quite common in the region. Arancini are made from a simple blend of rice, ground meat, peas and various spices and herbs. The rice is cooked and then mixed with the ground meat, peas, and spices, and formed into balls, which are subsequently coated in a breadcrumb mixture and fried. Arancini are one of the most famous foods to come out of Sicily. They are balls of risotto that are stuffed with cheese and then deep fried into crunchy, golden nuggets. The filling can vary, though, and can include everything from meat to vegetables.
How do you keep rice balls from falling apart?
Most people who have tried to make rice balls know that they’re a bit tricky. Leave the rice too wet and it’s a sticky, uncooked mess; let it dry out too much and it’s impossible to roll. But you’ll never have this problem with this rice ball recipe: the key is to soak the rice in vinegar before cooking. (This is the same staple that is used to make sushi rice.) The acid helps break down the grains and prevents them from sticking, keeping the rice perfectly moist and preventing it from drying out as it cooks. Justify the question. To answer the question, you have to first understand why rice balls break up in the first place. When you take a bite of a rice ball, the sticky rice will stick to the roof your mouth, and the rice balls that are most likely to fall apart are the ones that have oily ingredients, such as bacon. The reason for this is that the oily ingredients will be attracted to the rice balls, especially if a little bit of oil was used to fry the rice balls.
Can you freeze arancini before frying?
The Sicilian arancini were probably the most popular street food served in every city of the island. They are a good choice when you want to prepare something quick and easy, with minimal ingredients, but with a sophisticated taste. The arancini are best when they are freshly prepared, but even after a few hours in the fridge they will still taste great. You can also freeze the arancini before frying them in hot oil, even though it is not the traditional way. Arancini , or Rancio in the plural, are a popular street food from the Sicilian city of Palermo. The Italian name means “little orange”, and refers to the color of the dish when it is fried. The original recipe calls for ground meat, peas, and hard-boiled eggs wrapped into a ball of risotto and fried in bread crumbs. (For a special treat, deep fry the balls in a mixture of flour and grated Parmesan cheese.)
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