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Sicilian Street Food: an Arancini Recipe

arancini ball

From the streets of Palermo, Sicily - we bring you the Arancini ball!

Arancini is a beloved traditional street snack that has been delighting locals and tourists alike for generations. These delectable rice balls, crisp on the outside and bursting with rich flavors on the inside, are a true taste of Sicilian comfort food. So let's roll up our sleeves and get cooking!


For the rice:

- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice

- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

- 1/4 cup dry white wine

- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

- Pinch of saffron threads (optional)

- Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:

- 1 cup Bolognese sauce (cooked ground beef or meat sauce)

- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, diced

- 1/4 cup frozen peas (thawed)

- 1/4 cup ham or salami, diced (optional)

- Salt and pepper to taste

For breading and frying:

- 3 large eggs, beaten

- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (preferably Italian-style)

- Vegetable oil for frying


Step 1: Preparing the Rice

1. In a saucepan, heat the chicken or vegetable broth until it simmers. If using saffron, add the saffron threads to the broth and let it infuse for a few minutes.

2. In a separate large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the Arborio rice and toast it for a minute or two until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly.

3. Pour in the white wine and let it cook until mostly absorbed by the rice.

4. Begin adding the simmering broth to the rice, one cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each cup to be mostly absorbed before adding the next. Continue this process until the rice is tender and has a creamy texture.

5. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the rice to cool completely.

Step 2: Assembling the Arancini Balls

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled Arborio rice, Bolognese sauce, diced mozzarella, peas, and diced ham or salami (if using). Gently fold all the ingredients together until well combined. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Step 3: Shaping and Filling the Arancini

1. Take a golf ball-sized amount of the rice mixture and flatten it in your palm.

2. Place a teaspoon of the filling (Bolognese, mozzarella, peas, and ham) in the center of the rice disc.

3. Carefully shape the rice around the filling, forming a ball. Ensure the filling is completely enclosed and sealed within the rice. Repeat this process until all the rice and filling are used.

Step 4: Breading and Frying

1. Prepare three separate shallow bowls: one with the beaten eggs, one with the breadcrumbs, and one empty.

2. Roll each arancini ball in the beaten eggs, ensuring it's completely coated.

3. Next, roll the ball in the breadcrumbs until it's evenly covered.

4. Place the breaded arancini on a baking sheet or plate and refrigerate them for about 30 minutes to set.

5. In a large, deep saucepan or fryer, heat vegetable oil to 350°F (175°C).

6. Carefully lower the arancini balls into the hot oil, frying them in batches to avoid overcrowding. Fry until they turn golden brown and crispy on all sides.

7. Once cooked, remove the arancini balls from the oil and drain them on paper towels.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

1. Allow the arancini balls to cool slightly before serving. They are delicious when served warm.

2. You can serve them as they are or with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Yay! Enjoy!

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