Arancini are a typical specialty of Sicilian cuisine. They are simply rice balls, either round or with a cone tip, filled with ragù and peas, breaded, and then fried! A crunchy crust outside with a soft and tasty filling inside.
For the rice:
- 500 g risotto rice Carnaroli or Vialone nano rice
- 70 g of butter unsalted
- 2 sachets of saffron
- salt to taste
For The Stuffing:
- 150 g minced pork
- 50 g minced beef
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 carrot, a celery stalk
- a piece of celery stalk
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 200 ml tomato sauce
- 100 gr fresh or tinned peas
- 1/2 glass of white dry wine
- salt to taste
- 80 g caciocavallo cheese to be grated
- 1 l oil for deep-frying
For the breading:
- 6 – 8 tbsp white flour
- water as needed
- breadcrumbs to taste
For the Rice:
- Cook the rice in a pan in salted water, do not add too much, you will have to ensure that it has been almost completely absorbed by the end of cooking.
- Drain the rice and transfer it to a saucepan.
- After draining, stir in the butter and saffron in the pan until you achieve a creamy and well-mixed consistency. This mixture will form the base for your rice arancini. Transfer the prepared rice to a plate or a large baking tray to allow it to cool evenly.
- Allow the rice to cool down. It should be at room temperature before proceeding.
For The Stuffing:
- Finely chop the onion, celery, and carrot.
- In a pan with oil, sauté these vegetables until they become translucent. Add the ground meat and allow it to brown for about a minute. Deglaze the mixture with wine, let it reduce, and then add the tomato puree, bay leaf, and cloves.
- Bring it to a boil, cover with a lid, and simmer on low heat for at least 50 minutes. The ragout should be thick.
- Remove the lid and let it simmer until it thickens further. Finally, add the peas, even if they are frozen. Cook for an additional 15 minutes without excessive stirring; the peas should remain intact. Remove the bay leaves and cloves.
- Allow the ragout to cool for 30 minutes, then stir in the grated caciocavallo cheese. Season with salt and let it cool completely.
- Before proceeding to make Sicilian arancini, make sure both the rice and the ragout are completely cold.
- Take a handful of rice and create a hollow space in the center with one hand while holding the rice in the other to form a casing for the filling.
- Place 2 teaspoons of the ragout and a small piece of caciocavallo inside the rice casing. Add a teaspoon of rice on top and shape each arancino with your hands. You can choose to make them perfectly round or follow the traditional conical shape of Palermo arancini. Make sure to compact them well as you shape them and arrange them on a serving plate.
For the Double Breading:
- In a bowl, combine sifted flour, a pinch of salt, and water. Mix thoroughly with a whisk to prevent lumps.
- Dip each arancino in the batter, ensuring it’s completely covered, and then roll it in breadcrumbs.
- Choose a deep saucepan for frying with high sides and fill it with an ample amount of peanut oil. The oil should reach a temperature of 175°C (347°F).
- Test the oil’s readiness by dipping a toothpick; if bubbles form around it, the oil is ready.
- Fry 2 to 3 arancini at a time.
- Fry them for about 2 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
- Drain the fried arancini on absorbent paper, add a pinch of salt, and serve them warm.
- At room temperature, you can keep them for one day, after which it's best to refrigerate them. They will stay good in the fridge for about 3 days. You can reheat them in the oven or microwave, and they also freeze well!