The most common I’ve seen are round-shaped Arancini – that was, until we visited the island of Sicily for our honeymoon. When these ‘arancini siciliani’ are on display, they look like little soldiers waiting for an order. 🙂 But, they are basically made the same way as the round ones. I did notice that most of them have the meat filling, not just the mozzarella or ham combo; and some of them contains saffron as well (I meant the rice, not the filling 🙂 ).
Arancini and panelle (Panelle (Sicilian Chickpea Fritters)), are both popular street food in Sicily. Unlike panelle though, I prefer to eat my Arancini when it has cooled down a bit, not straight out of the pan. From personal experience, I can honestly vouch that a couple of ‘arancini siciliani’ is enough for a satisfying and filling lunch; and you don’t even have to stop walking while having your meal! 😉
When I make arancini at home, I make sure that I leave the risotto in the fridge overnight. I feel that this step helps in keeping them intact when I fry them. I also do not use any beaten egg for dipping. I’ve been told that they only use flour with water and breadcrumbs – so that’s what I’ve been using as well and so far, it has never failed.
As for the filling, if you have some leftover Bolognese sauce, even better; that will be the perfect filling for these Arancini Siciliani. If you don’t have that on hand however, you can try making a quick version of meat sauce instead – which is exactly what I have in this recipe.
Lastly, you know how much I love saffron. So, it goes without saying that I ALWAYS make my Arancini with Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese). But, trust me, there is no problem in using Risotto Bianco, the result will be equally good! 🙂
- cooked and cooled risotto, at least 400 grams of rice used
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 250 grams ground beef
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small onion, finely sliced
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/8 tsp pepperoncino
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup green peas
- salt and pepper to season
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 cups water
- 1 & 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
- 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Start preparing the meat filling by heating up the olive oil in a medium pan. Add garlic and onion and once the onion has softened, add ground beef. Cook until the meat has changed color.
Add tomato sauce, pepperoncino and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the green peas. Season by adding salt and pepper. Keep simmering for 10 more minutes.
If the sauce is still too watery, uncover and let some of the sauce evaporate. Keep on the stove for 10 more minutes. Take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool.
Mix the flour with the 2 cups of water in a bowl.
Get a scoop of risotto and flatten it in your palm. Add at least a teaspoon of the meat filling in the center and begin closing and forming the arancini with the help of your other palm. Make sure that there are no gaps (or holes) in the arancini.
Heat up the vegetable oil in a medium sized pot.
Once the vegetable oil is ready, dip the Arancini in the mixture of flour and water. Roll it in breadcrumbs and then start frying in the vegetable oil.
Once the Arancini has turned golden brown on all sides, take them off the pot and place in paper towels to absorb some of the excess oil. Do the frying in batches since not all will fit in the pot.
- See link for risotto (Risotto alla Milanese)
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