Arancini di Sicilia or fried stuffed rice balls from Sicily coated in breadcrumbs served in a bowl with one broken open to show the filling

Arancini is a typical Sicilian dish. It is a breaded rice ball that, due to its shape and color when fried, is reminiscent of an orange (hence its name).

His story

Its origin is not clear, what is sure is that this dish has risen many variations over time to become the dish we know today.

Many attribute the creation of this dish to Frederick II of Svevia (1197). A very comfortable dish to eat during his travels or while y was hunting.

After the discovery of America, tomato was added to the most basic recipe (rice, saffron and breaded). Today it is replaced by ragú (a tomato sauce with meat and vegetables).

Currently the most common varieties of arancino are: with ragú, with butter (with cooked ham and mozzarella), with spinages in Palermo and with aubergine or pistachio in Catania.

It is possible to find a sweet variant such as arancino with Nutella.

Arancino with meat sauce recipe

Saffron 1 sachet
Butter 30 g
Vialone nano rice 500 g
Salt up to 1 pinch
Water 1.2 l
Seasoned Caciocavallo to grate 100 g

Salt up to taste
Black pepper to taste
Onions ½
Butter 25 g
Ground pork 100 g
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Tomato puree 200 ml
Peas 80 g
Fresh Caciocavallo 50 g
Red wine 50 ml

Start by boiling the rice in 1,2l of boiling salted water , so that, once cooked, the water has been completely absorbed. Cook for about 15 minutes, then dissolve the saffron in very little hot water and add it to the cooked rice . Also add the butter into small pieces.

Add the grated cheese, mix well to mix everything, then pour and level the rice on a large and low tray and cover it with cling film, to make it cool completely. Let the rice rest for a couple of hours out of the refrigerator. In the meantime, dedicate yourself to the ragù filling: peel and finely slice the onion

Stew the chopped onion in a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and the butter, then add the minced meat; brown it over high heat, then add the wine 9 and let it evaporate.

At this point add the tomato puree, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook over low heat, covered for at least 20 minutes. Halfway through cooking, add the peas.

While the peas are cooking, cut the caciocavallo, cooked ham and mozzarella into cubes. You will have all the fillings ready.

Once the rice has cooled completely (it will take at least a couple of hours), you can form the arancini, to help you in the formation keep a bowl full of water nearby so you can moisten your hands. Take a couple of tablespoons of rice at a time (about 120 grams of rice), crush the pile in the center of the hand forming a basin and pour in a teaspoon of ragù filling, add a few cubes of caciocavallo.

Then close the base of the arancino with the rice and shape it giving it a pointed shape.

Now that you have all the arancini ready, prepare the batter: in a bowl pour the sifted flour, a pinch of salt and the water. Mix thoroughly with a whisk to prevent lumps from forming.

Then dip the arancini, one by one, into the batter 25, taking care to cover them entirely 26 and roll them in breadcrumbs.

In a saucepan, heat the oil and bring it to a temperature of 170 °, at which point fry one arancino at a time or maximum two in order not to lower the temperature of the oil: when they are golden brown you can drain them by placing them on a tray lined with paper absorbent.

Now enjoy this delicious meal!

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