Cooking Sicilian Style – Arancini di Riso

There is a saying that cooking is good for the soul and this is definitely the case when cooking italian food.   Whether you are cooking for a special occasion, for family, for friends or in this case trying something that you have seen often but have never tried before.  Inspired by watching one to many Detective Montalbano episodes Joe and I decided to get to it!!

Ingredients for Arancini di Riso, 2013
Ingredients for Arancini di Riso, 2013

Arancini di Riso (Sicilian Rice Balls) – the Arancini because the size and color of the finished rice balls approximates an orange – is a typical sicilian dish of fried rice balls that have assorted.  Typical for italian recipes there are almost as many versions as there are sicilian grandmothers, however I prefer recipes that include some type of meet ragu for the filling.

I have attached a video link (in italian OR click to convert to english) for one particularly good recipe but encourage you to google “arancini di riso” to explore the many versions of this recipe on the internet.  This link provides the ingredient list as well as shows you the technique which I found very helpful.  Arancini di Riso – How to Video 

Cooking meat filling, 2013
Cooking meat filling, 2013

Ingredients – Filling

  • 150 grams ground meet (beef or pork or a combination of both)
  • 80 grams peas (fresh are best but you can use frozen)
  • 150 grams Provola Cheese (soft provolone or you can use mozzarella – not the white but the pale yellow)
  • 40 grams tomato paste (use double concentrated that comes in tube)
  • pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 1/2 onion
  • 25 grams butter

To make the filling heat the butter and olive oil in pan.  Cook for approximately 5 to 8 minutes until onion is translucent.  Add ground meat and cook through.  Add wine and cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste and cook to reduce about 10 to 15 minutes stirring often.  Season with pepper and add peas and take off heat.  Stir a few more times and then leave to cool.  Filling should be thick and not to runny.

Joe cooling rice mixture, 2013
Joe cooling rice mixture, 2013

Ingredients – Rice

  • 500 grams (long grain white rice)
  • one packet of saffron
  • 30 grams butter
  • 100 grams grated cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • salt

To make the rice cook rice per instructions on package.  Remove rice from pan to large bowl and add saffron, butter, grated cheese, egg yolks, and salt and mix throughly.  When finished spread rice out on large flat plate.

Joe assembling the Arancini, 2013
Joe assembling the Arancini, 2013

Assembly and Deep Frying

  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs beaten

Watch the video for this part as the visuals are so much better than any explanation I can offer.

Arancini di Riso, 2013
Arancini di Riso, 2013

2 Replies to “Cooking Sicilian Style – Arancini di Riso”

  1. Well, I’ve never had Arancini with a ragu filling. May have to try, though the kids are pretty stuck on my version 🙂
    Funny story that I never added to my blog post on Arancini. We went to an Italian restaurant which was pretty authentic for here. Family run, with mama’s arancini and gnocchi. That type of thing. I saw ‘Orangini’ on the menu and was pretty sure it meant Arancini. When I asked the waiter to confirm he was so embarassed! It turns out whoever wrote the menu to be sent to the printers didn’t know they were called Arancini and just guessed based on the pronunciation. It looked like this mistake was really a thorn in his side 🙂

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