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Sicilian Arancini

Sicilian Arancini

Arancini are delicious, crispy, deep fried Sicilian balls of rice. They have a meat sauce and mozzarella cheese filling and crunchy breadcrumb coating.

Growing up in a typical Southern Italian home, we didn't eat a lot of rice. We preferred pasta, and my mother served it regularly as our staple carbohydrate. Once in a while, however, my mom would whip up rice balls.

When I throw a party, my mother always arrives with a big platter of arancini, to my friends' delight.

I have learned this rice ball recipe from her.

Recipe:

COURSE: Appetizer
CUISINE: Sicilian
DIFFICULTY: Medium
PREPARATION: 1 hour
COOKING: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hours and 30 minutes

Portions: 10 units

Ingredients:

FOR RICE

500g of Carnaroli rice
Extra virgin olive oil as required
1 small shallot
100g of shredded PDO parmigiano reggiano
60g of butter
A pinch of saffron
Salt to taste
A few tablespoons of the liquid part of the meat sauce

FOR THE SAUCE

120g of ground beef
120g of minced veal
120g of minced pork
½ carrot
½ an onion
1 stalk of celery
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
350ml of tomato puree
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
200ml of red wine

FOR THE STUFFING

100g peas already boiled in salted water
200g of scamorza or provolone cheese
150g of PGI mortadella in a single slice

FOR BREADING:

Flour
Breadcrumbs
2 egg whites and 1 whole egg
Salt
Sunflower oil for frying

Instructions:

1) Let's start with the Bolognese sauce. Finely chop carrot, onion and celery and sauté in a pan with extra virgin olive oil for 10 minutes. Combine in small doses the minced meat, brown it well before adding the other. Then, add the tomato paste and wine and let evaporate the alcohol. Finally, pour into the meat sauce tomato sauce, add the bay leaf, salt and cook over low heat and covered for at least two hours. Allow to cool completely and store the sauce in the refrigerator, better if all night. It is important that every all component are cold, this will help you a lot when you have to make arancini.

2) Risotto for arancini: Chop the shallot and let it dry in the pan with extra virgin olive oil, add the rice Carnaroli, toast the rice for a few minutes and then deglaze with the white wine. When the alcoholic portion of the wine has evaporated, begin cooking the risotto by adding heat and light vegetable broth in which you have dissolved saffron. Cook the rice as if it were a normal risotto, but the cooking issues should be minimal, lower by at least 10 minutes to those of a normal risotto, so I suggest you cook the rice for 10 minutes: risotto for arancini must be very dry, because then it will be topped off with the liquid part of Bolognese sauce, but extremely al dente.

3) Stir the rice with butter and Parmesan and add a few tablespoons of the liquid part of the Bolognese sauce: the result should be a pinkish colour from rice. Spread the risotto for arancini on a chopping board or a tray in a thin layer and let it cool completely (at least 3 hours, but all night keeping it in the refrigerator).

4) Cut the sausage and cheese into cubes, boil the peas in a little lightly salted water and drain them carefully.

5) Composition of arancini: take some risotto and, holding it in the Palm of your hand, derive a flat sheet with a thickness of about one centimetre. Put some Bolognese sauce in the center, add some mortadella, cheese and peas . Then, take another portion of risotto and place it over the filling, crushing arancino between hands to form a pyramid or make the round arancini. To make the classic round arancini, you have to press the kumquat between your hands to form a ball the size of a tennis ball, adding a bit of risotto if necessary so as not to drive out the stuffing.

6) For the breading of arancini prepare some flour, two egg whites and whole egg well beaten and slightly salted and some breadcrumbs. Put arancini in the flour, then in beaten egg and finally in breadcrumbs. Fry arancini in sunflower oil at 160 degrees: consider a cooking time of about 6-8 minutes per arancino, necessary to melt and spin the scamorza cheese inside, evenly heat the arancino and do not over darken the crust. And now, enjoy your arancini are ready. Bon appetito!