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Rice arancini – the recipe from Cuoche ma buon


Rice arancini or arancine, in the end it doesn't matter. We can call them whatever we want, as long as they are good! In Palermo and western Sicily, given the golden color and the round shape reminiscent of the orange, they are called “arancina”. In Catania and in the eastern part of the island, where it almost always has a conical shape, perhaps inspired by the shape of the Etna volcano, it becomes “arancino”.
In Palermo, December 13th, Saint Lucia's day and synonymous with pre-Christmas binge, is an unmissable event and from dawn the smell of fried food invades the city.
Arancini are small fried rice timbales, one of the best-known specialties of Sicilian street food, with a crunchy crust and a tasty and soft filling. In Sicily they are found everywhere and are consumed at any time, as an appetizer, snack or main dish. Among the best known we have: white rice arancini also known as butter arancini, stuffed with cooked ham and stringy cheese; the red rice balls, filled with meat sauce. There are infinite versions, from the classic to the more original ones such as baked arancini. The recipe for Sicilian arancini is really simple, just follow a few rules for perfect success. First of all, choose a good Originario or Carnaroli rice rich in starch, then prepare a rather dense and concentrated ragù which, in addition to being tasty, will make it easier to form the arancini and, finally, the breading must be crunchy and golden in colour. Find out how to make Sicilian rice arancini with us. Sicilian street food loved all over the world!


Scope appetizer, aperitif
  • 1 kg Original rice or Carnaroli
  • 2 l water
  • 100 g burro
  • 100 g Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 4 father of carne
  • 2 sachets saffron

For the filling

  • 200 g ground beef
  • 200 g minced pork
  • 300 g peas
  • 500 ml tomato puree
  • 2 spoons tomato concentrate
  • 2 spoons starch say more optional
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • noce moscata qb
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste

For the breading

  • breadcrumbs to taste
  • 2 spoons durum wheat semolina flour
  • 4 egg 4 egg whites + 2 egg yolks

For frying

  • 2,5 l peanut seed oil
  • Video recipe with all the steps.

  • The evening before, prepare the filling for the arancini: start frying the finely chopped onion and carrots with a drizzle of oil.

  • Add the chopped mixture, taking care to crumble it as finely as possible, a grated nutmeg and brown for a few minutes. Add the peas, tomato sauce, concentrate diluted with a little water, salt and pepper.

  • Continue cooking for about an hour until you obtain a thin sauce. Almost at the end of cooking, add the corn starch dissolved in a drop of water: it will help thicken everything and make it easier to work with during the filling. As soon as it is ready, turn it off, let it cool and leave it in the fridge for the next day.

  • At this point, pour 2 liters of water into a large pan. Add the nuts, saffron and wait for it to boil. Once it boils, pour in the rice, reduce the heat and keep it very low. Cook for approximately 12-15 minutes (adjust according to the purchase package). Consider that you will have to obtain rice cooked al dente and dry.

  • Stir occasionally and, halfway through cooking, add half the butter. As soon as it is al dente, turn off the heat, add the remaining butter and parmesan, and stir. At this point, transfer the rice onto a marble base or into baking trays, and spread it out with the help of a wooden spoon. Cover with a cloth and wait for it to cool.

  • Prepare a bowl with the lightly beaten eggs and one with the breadcrumbs mixed with two tablespoons of Rimacino semolina flour.

  • As soon as the rice has cooled, start processing. Take the ragù cooked the day before out of the fridge. With your hands, make rice balls the size of the palm of your hand.

  • Make a hole in the center of the spheres and insert the seasoning so that you can close them. Shape them, making them smooth and compact on the surface.

  • For the breading we recommend using one hand to dip them in the beaten egg and the other for the breadcrumbs mixed with the semolina flour. This way you won't get your hands and the egg breadcrumbs too dirty, thus obtaining a more beautiful and perfect breading without lumps. Continue until you run out of ingredients.

  • Heat the peanut oil in a deep pan with high sides or in a fryer, so that the arancini can brown and rotate easily during cooking. The oil should not smoke: the optimal temperature is reached when, by trying to immerse a wooden toothpick in the hot oil, bubbles form around it.

  • Fry the arancini a few at a time, turning them occasionally. As soon as they are golden, remove them from the saucepan with the help of a slotted spoon and place them in a colander lined with absorbent kitchen paper. Serve them piping hot.

Corn starch is added to bind the ingredients and speed up the compactness of the ragù. If you're not in a hurry, use grandma's method: once cooking is finished, transfer it to a narrow mesh strainer and let the excess liquids drain overnight. This way it will be drier.
As for the breading, you can replace the eggs with a batter of water and flour, and then dip them in breadcrumbs.
For the filling, however, you can use various ingredients: mushrooms, sausage and mozzarella; spinach, mozzarella and bechamel; pumpkin, speck and scamorza; chicken and curry… the variations are endless!
I also want to give you another method for cooking rice without stirring it constantly. The Pilaf method. Pour the water into a thick-bottomed pan and add the saffron, nuts and butter. Wait for it to boil, pour in the rice and do not stir. Just lower the heat, it should cook gently. Halfway through cooking, turn it over and let it cook until it has absorbed all the water. As soon as it is ready, turn off the heat and stir in the grated cheese.
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