Although this is a blog featuring how to make and follow the famous Arancini Recipe. We want to take you on a little journey of what it involves and includes. As with every recipe that we bring to The Sicilian Way. We want to tell you a little story behind everything we love from the Island!
Sicilian Arancini are a beloved street food and traditional dish of Sicily. These crispy fried rice balls are filled with a delicious combination of ingredients such as ragù (meat sauce), mozzarella cheese, and peas, but the possibilities for fillings are endless.
Arancini get their name from the Italian word for “little oranges” because of their round shape and golden colour. They are a popular snack or appetiser in Sicilian cuisine and are often eaten as a quick bite on the go or served as a starter at family gatherings and special occasions. The combination of crispy exterior and flavourful filling makes Arancini a true taste of Sicily that you don’t want to miss.
When we travel to Sicily. It is usually by car (YES. It’s a very long journey! 2,000 miles to be exact) and on the journey, there is only one place we get our first Arancini. That is on the boat through the Messina straight and it is a damn good Arancini.
Serving size: 6 People
The Ingredients you will need
For the rice:
300g short-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron
350g of water
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
120g unsalted butter
A good pinch of fine sea salt and ground pepper
For the elegant meat sauce and fillings:
5 tablespoon olive oil
Half an onion
1 finely diced carrot
1 finely diced celery
85g minced beef
85g minced pork
3 tablespoons dry red wine
- 10g of tomato paste
200g tomato puree
45g green peas, fresh or frozen
For the assembly of the Arancini:
125g of fresh mozzarella cheese, diced, optional (leave out for a lighter, less-cheesy arancino)
32g of all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
120g of water
1 pinch salt
568g of breadcrumbs
2 inches of vegetable oil, for frying (Variable depending on how big your pan for frying is)
Making the Rice:
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the rice, saffron, and 350ml of water to a boil.
- Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed.
- Remove the lid and stir in the grated Parmigiano, butter, salt, and pepper until it is all mixed in.
- Once mixed. Spread the rice out on a large plate or baking dish to cool completely to room temperature.
Making molto bello Meat sauce and filling:
- Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté, stirring often, until softened and the onions are translucent—about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the minced beef and pork and fry, stirring often, until browned—about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Include the wine and let cook until the alcohol aroma has reduced, about 1 minute. Pour a glass for yourself too. You deserve it!
- Stir in the tomato paste and tomato purée, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally about 10 minutes. The trick is to let the sauce relax while cooking. (When it starts to bubble, mix the sauce)
- Add the peas and continue to simmer the sauce for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the peas are tender and the sauce is thickened. It should not be too watery.
- Once done, transfer the filling to a bowl and set aside to let it cool.
Assembling the Arancini:
- Once the rice and filling are completely cooled, start shaping your rice balls. So let’s go! Time to get your hands dirty!
- Bring 1 heaped tablespoon of rice in the palm of one hand, then use your fingers and thumb to shape it into a hollow bowl shape.
- Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the centre and 1 to 2 small cubes of diced fresh mozzarella (if using).
- Then gently close the rice around the filling to form either in a round ball shape or a cone/pear shape.
- When all of your arancini have been formed, whisk together the flour, eggs, 120g of water, and a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl until smooth.
- Spread the breadcrumbs on a separate plate or baking dish.
- Gently roll each Arancini ball first in the liquid mixture, letting any excess drip off.
- Then roll them into the breadcrumbs until they’re evenly coated.
- At this point, you can put your arancini in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes to let them firm up if they seem a bit too loose or liquidy. If not, you can go directly to frying.
- Heat about 2 inches of neutral frying oil to 182c.
- Fry your arancini in batches of just 2 to 3 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot ( Overcrowding reduces the heat of the oil) until they are evenly golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Once they Arancini are fried. Transfer them to a plate with tissue on the top to drain.
- When they’ve dried. This is what the Italians say when you are about to eat.
- Buon Appetito – English for enjoy your meal. Eat them whilst they’re hot!
YOU HAVE DONE IT!
Bravissimo! You have made one of Sicily’s famous dishes. This dish is difficult to pull off, but once you do, you can enjoy what traditional arancino tastes like!
I personally recommend including the Mozzarella cheese into the mix. When you take a bite out of the Arancini and a big stringy bit of cheese comes away it looks and tastes incredible!
If you followed our recipe, please share with us how it went. Let us know if you changed anything in the recipe. We cannot wait to see it all! If you have used one of our products in your Arancini, share it with us. You may receive a free product to say thank you!
Don’t worry we’ll feature your incredible Arancini on our website and Instagram! Let’s Cook!