Arancini are crispy, delicious, deep fried Sicilian rice balls. They are very common Sicilian street food. Arancini are filled with various ingredients, but this recipe uses meat sauce, mozzarella cheese, and peas.
Ingredients for Rice
- 10 1/2 ounces short-grain rice (Vialone Nano, Carnaroli, or Arborio)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron
- 1 1/2 cups water
- salt (to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 4 teaspoons unsalted butter
Ingredients for Meat Filling
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup yellow onion (about 1/2 small, finely chopped)
- 3 tablespoons carrot (finely chopped )
- 3 tablespoons celery (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons dry red wine
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1/3 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- 3 ounces ground beef
- 3 ounces ground pork
Ingredients For the rice balls
- 4.4 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup water
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 2 inches neutral vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
To make the rice
- In a saucepan, combine the saffron, rice and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer until the water has absorbed (about 17 minutes).
- Remove lid, stir in grated Parmigiano, butter, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Spread the rice out on a large plate to cool entirely.
To make the meat sauce and filling
- In a saucepan on medium heat, add olive oil, onions, Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Sautee ingredients for 9 minutes. Then incorporate the Add the ground beef and pork. Stir for 7 minutes until the meat is browned.
- Add the wine and let cook for 1 minute. Next, mix in the tomato paste and puree. Turn the heat down to medium and let cook for 10 more minutes. Be sure to stir often.
- Mix in the peas and continue to cook the sauce for another 9 minutes until peas are fully cooked. Pour the filling in a separate bowl set aside and allow to cool.
To assemble and fry the arancini
- Allow the rice and filling to cool entirely. Begin shaping your arancini. Get one heaping tablespoon of rice in your hand and shape it to form a hollow bowl. Get one teaspoon of filling and pour it in the center and add in a few cubes of diced mozzarella.
- Close the rice around the filling to create a ball shape. Continue forming the rest of your arancini the same way.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup of water, eggs, and a little salt. Spread the bread crumbs in a separate plate. Gently roll each ball first in the egg, flour, salt, water mix. Do not drench just lightly coat and allow the water to drip off.
- Next, roll them in the breadcrumbs so they are thoroughly and evenly coated.
- Refrigerate arancini for about 20 minutes before frying so they can become firm. (makes frying easier)
- Heat 2 inches of neutral frying oil to 360F and begin frying arancini (2 at a time). Let them fry until they are nice and golden. (This should take around 3-4 minutes). After they are fried transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Enjoy when they’re still hot!