A is for Arancini

The A-Z Challenge has begun!

And day A already brings you so much greatness with these wonderful Arancini. These cuties are Sicilian rice balls. Filled rice balls, mind you. The name derives from the Italian word for oranges, which the rice balls definitely do resemble after you have deep fried them. Although nowadays most of the Aranci are in the literal shape of a ball, they originally had a conic shape just like the oranges that used to grow in Sicily.aranciniThe rice balls have become mighty popular over the years, and the recipe is so precious to Italians, especially the Sicilians, that it is protected by the government -just like Pecorino cheese or Mozzarella. Something I totally and completely support.aranciniMy recipe offers you the “sort of” classic version with meat ragú, although I have highly adapted it to make it easier to prepare. Besides that, I have also added a filling of mushrooms, which is suitable for vegetarians. This only serves to provide you with an idea of what you can do with these fantastic rice balls. But please, don’t stop there. Experiment; use peas, try a pesto sauce, add some spring onions. You know, just get crazy.aranciniOnce you get the hang of it, it is a versatile recipe. However, how do you find the hang? I’ve got some tips for you, so you don’t have to struggle like I did.

  1. Use risotto rice. Not only does this make the recipe more authentic, but as risotto rice is in general short-grain and prone to sticking together, it will be easier to roll the rice into a ball. Not sure which rice to buy? Read this post about risotto rice!
  2. Prepare the filling while the rice is boiling. This saves you loads of time, as both of them need to cool down.arancini
  3. Don’t forget to add the egss and parmesan to the rice! Honestly, you will manage without them, but you will need to add more salt to the dish. Besides that, the eggs and parmesan work as a binder. So don’t forget them!
  4. Once you start rolling the balls, make sure you have your plate ready to put them on. And very important (!), ensure that your hands are wet, so as to have the rice grains stick to each other instead of your palm.
  5. Please, please, please make sure that your pan really is suitable for deepfrying. I have one pan where you can still see the lines where the oil sat. Also, I personally preferred using actual deepfrying oil on a sunflower basis. I found that just plain sunflower oil (although it might be healthier) spatters way too much for me to feel safe.
    arancini

Also, take a good look at the last photo… Can you guess what it is? Hint: it is for the letter F (my Facebook page may tell you even more!)

Sicilian Arancini - Stuffed Rice Balls

  • Servings: 16 balls
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 500 grams (17.6 oz) risotto rice, such as arborio (read more here)
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) Parmesan cheese
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) bread crumbs
  • Frying oil, sunflower oil

For the filling:

  • 1 shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) minced meat
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) mushrooms
  • 170 ml (5.7 fl oz) dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves

Used kitchen appliances

  • Large pan
  • 2 small frying pans
  • Large bowl, preferrably flat
  • 3 small bowls
  • Large frying pan with a thick bottom suitable for deepfrying
  • Skimmer
  • Kitchen paper

Preparation

  1. Bring 1 liter of water to the boil in the large pan, and proceed to add the rice and saffron. Bring it to the boil again, and put on a low heat. Cover with the lid and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. In the meantime, finely chop the garlic and shallot and divide in two halves. Heat the frying pans with a slug of olive oil. Add the garlic and shallot and let simmer on a medium heat. Slice the mushrooms. In one  pan, add the minced meat. In another, add the mushrooms.
  3. Let it bake for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Add half of the wine, a tablespoon of the tomato puree and some fresh thyme to each of the pans. Let simmer for another 5 minutes. Season to taste.
  4. Once the rice is ready, transfer to the large bowl, and let it cool for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat on the frying pans, and let the filling cool as well.

  5. Beat 2 eggs. Once cooled,  add the eggs and the parmesan cheese to the rice. Divide the rice into 16 balls using your hands. Make sure your hands are wet, so the rice doesn’t stick to your hands. Slightly flatten the balls, make a hole in the middle and add about a teaspoon of the mixture. Close the balls around the mixture.
  6. Add some flour to one of the small bowls, 2 beaten eggs to the other, and the breadcrumbs to the last. Roll each of the balls through the flour, coat with the egg, and roll through the breadcrumbs. Place on a tray and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  7. Use the large pan with thick bottom, and add deepfrying oil (or sunflower oil) so the pan is filled for 1/3. Heat the oil up to 180C, or check to see if it’s warm enough by throwing in a piece of bread, which should brown in 15 seconds.
  8. Fry each of the balls for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Place on some kitchen paper, so it soaks up any excess oil.
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42 Comments Add yours

  1. ☺Lisa☺ Great post to start off your A-Z challenge. In hubby’s country they have something similar but you smash the rice together before shaping and they can be round or flat. I love your photos and I can see your F for focaccia ☺ Life Diet Health (A-Z 684)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      Oh that sounds like an interesting preparation as well! Where does your husband come from? Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s from Kurdistan – North Iraq! 🙂 It’s one of his favourite foods!

        Like

      2. basilandoil says:

        Oh wow, that’s amazing! Would love to have his recipe for this!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One day Lisa… one day 🙂 It takes too long for me to make… I need his help 😛 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. basilandoil says:

        Haha, I’ll be patient 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    2. basilandoil says:

      Oh and you guessed right btw!! Go you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lol… just like you the other day! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. basilandoil says:

        We’re on a roll here!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes.. lets see if you can guess what any of my B-Z will be lol! 😛 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. basilandoil says:

        Haha, I’m sort of good at guessing but not THAT good! Besides, I like the element of surprise in this haha

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh… and there was me hoping for some ideas! 😛 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. basilandoil says:

        Sorry… lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sabina says:

    This looks AMAZING. Gimme.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      Hahaha, it is!

      Like

  3. bookbakeblog says:

    Ooh, this looks and sounds delicious! I’ve never heard of arancini before, but they sound like my cup of tea… 🙂 It’s only day 1 of your A-Z and I’m already learning so much, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      Haha then I did my job well! Glad I could be of help 😊

      Like

  4. Chippy says:

    I’ll be honest I’ve never heard of these before. But they do sound and look yummy!

    Stopping by from A To Z 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      Happy to have been able to let you know about these cuties! Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  5. Shawn Yankey says:

    Cool recipe, they sound good. Not sure I could pull them off but I will see if my wife can. She is much better in the kitchen. Shawn from Laughing at Life 2

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      It’s a lot easier to make than it seems, you might just be able to pull it off! Thanks for stopping by and your comment 🙂

      Like

  6. This looks delicious and I want them so much I bookmarked the page for when I lose my weight and can eat rice again. My husband will have to prepare them, of course, as I will surely burn them. I can hardly wait for the rest of the Alphabet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      What a wonderful prospect that is then! Glad you liked it 🙂 Thank you so much for your comment! And good luck 😉 hope you’ll be able to taste them soon!

      Like

  7. shalzzzzz says:

    Delicious! I’ll definitely give it a try! 🙂 And happy to follow your space. I would get to know more about your style of food 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  8. Sara says:

    They look lovely-will have to give this recipe a try soon 🙂 Good luck with the A-Z Challenge this month!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      Thanks you so much!

      Like

  9. I never tried this dish until last year, and now it’s one of my FAVORITES. Yummmm.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      Mine too! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Like

  10. Wow. I have never heard of these, but they sound delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    2015 A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    Matthew MacNish from The QQQE

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      You’re very welcome! Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  11. Oh… these look yummy! I’m salivating and wishing I had all the ingredients to make this today!

    Happy A to Z’ing!

    Morgan,
    A Poet’s Kitchen
    Playing with Words
    StoryDam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. basilandoil says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  12. Donna says:

    What an awesome blog! I love rice and would like nothing more than to make these but I need to substitute something for the cheese 😦 (a terrible thing, I know – lactose intolerance) any ideas? I so like the fact that you shared so many real pictures, step by step with all kinds of info: cooking time, etc. and to even have the print option ….WONDERFUL!!!!

    Like

    1. basilandoil says:

      Thank you so much for your amazing comment! It’s actually not that necessary to add the cheese, the first time I made them I didn’t use any cheese. You might just have to add a bit more salt or other flavouring, but the arancini taste just as great without the cheese!

      Like

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