Thursday, March 3, 2011

Arancini di Riso-Sicilian Rice Balls


If you are familiar with the Arancini, which literally means, "little oranges" then you would know what this authentic, Sicilian, or Calabrian delicacy is. It is called Rice Balls. You can make it two ways, the first one which we all are familiar with are with a scoop of ground meat, w/sauce, and a cube of mozzarella cheese, and let's not forget the green peas. You can also make it vegetarian style, with just the mozzarella cheese in the middle, served over plain Marinara sauce. Either way, you've never tasted any Italian comfort food, which is usually served as a snack in the middle of the afternoon, or an appetizer, for a few, or a crowd that will disappear faster than pizza. I had the opportunity to learn about this yummy dish, firsthand when I lived in Sicily, and also visiting family in the recent years. Nowadays, as in the past, it is still a very popular tasty treat, made in every pizza place, or in cafes, and mostly it's a tradition to make on a Sunday afternoon.


There really isn't much difficulty in making the Arancini if you have all your ingredients organized, your meat, or plain sauce ready, and all you have to do is to just assemble them together, and ready to fry...yes, fry! and not bake. You will not be required to deep fry them, as long as you have a couple inches of fresh vegetable oil sizzling in a large heavy duty deep skillet, you will have the most crunchy, and delicious tasting Arancini, dipped into extra sauce, or just eat them just like the way I am holding a yummy piece!

Arancini-Sicilian Rice Balls
 my own recipe

2 cups of raw long grain rice
2 Tablespoons butter
4 eggs separated
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fined bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Cook rice until firm (not tender). Drain. Place rice in a large bowl. Add butter, cheese, salt, and pepper.Let it cool down for about 20 minutes. Add the egg yolks, and mix well. Spread out on a large platter and let it cool down in the fridge for about 30 minutes, up to an hour. Next, make your meatsauce, or Marinara sauce, according to your favorite recipe. For the meatsauce, use at least 1 lb. of ground lean beef. You will have plenty of extra meatsauce or plain sauce leftover, from a good batch of sauce.

This is basically how you form the rice balls.
The only problem was, that I didn't let the rice cool down enough, and probably added too much meatsauce.
The frozen peas do not have to bee boiled, just let them thaw out. I placed another portion of rice on top of this, and rolled it into a ball, then I dipped it in the remaining 4 egg whites, which has been mixed with about 1/4 cup water, and dipped it into the bread crumbs, rolling it into a ball, and frying it till it was nice, and golden brown.


Filling for the Arancini

Scoop out a good amount of the ground beef with a slotted spoon, into a separate bowl, and get your set up ready. You need about 1 cup frozen peas, thawed out at room temperature, and about 1 cup small cubed, or even shredded mozzarella will work. Put 1 heaping tablespoonful of rice in the palm of your hand. Flatten slightly, then place about 1 or 2 teaspoon of the meat filling, about 1 teaspoon of the peas, and a cube of the cheese. For the meatless version, do the same with the plain sauce, the cheese, and the peas, or you can just use the cheese, and omit the peas. Add another heaping tablespoon over the top, and enclose it packing the ingredients well to stay inside. Beat the remaining egg whites with 1/4 cup water till frothy, then roll the rice balls into the egg whites, and dip into the breadcrumbs, that has also been seasoned with salt, pepper, and Romano cheese. Fry in about half filled skillet, with vegetable oil, or in a deep fryer. until golden brown, Drain on absorbent paper towel, and serve over a bed of extra sauce, or by itself. Serve hot, or at room temperature. Makes about 12 to 16, depending the size you make. Oh, so delizioso...Mangia!
If you love Italian food, I promise you that you will want to have this ridiculously, and totally amazing Arancini to make. It really is worth the precious time, and effort!
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31 comments:

  1. omg I love those rice balls! The first picture has made me seriously hungry!

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  2. Wow those rice balls makes me hungry..

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  3. Elisabeth, those rice balls look fiercely delicious. It's fiddly to make but definitely worth the effort. Love the melting gooey cheese in the middle. Yum!

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  4. Elisabeth!
    Fantasztikusan néz ki, szombaton ki is fogom próbálni, köszi a receptet:-)

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  5. Oh, I've always wanted to make these, ELsiabeth! I just keep forgetting about them. I'm reminded and re-inspired. WHich version to try is my only dilemma now!

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  6. I my goodness! What a decadent treat. I am not sure I am brave enough to try this recipe. I fear that mine would never be as lovely as yours.

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  7. I have always wanted to make these but never have. You share such great (new to me) recipes. Love it. I gotta try these!!
    Brandie

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  8. wow these look scrumpitious what lovely flavors and color my kids will love these!

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  9. Yum Elisabeth! Thanks for including a vegetarian alternative :)

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  10. Hi Elisabeth- These reminds me of our Indian koftas..only better with all that cheesy gooey goodness..I thinks it has a very cool twist with the way used the ingredients and your pictorials sealed the deal for me..I have to try it..because it is really creative n yummy looking:)

    US Masala

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  11. i only once had these kind of rice balls. every time i say i'm going to make some I don't have any left over rice. the cheese filling makes me so hungry. Looks amazing. Thanks for sharing Elisabeth

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  12. Oh wow, these arancini are perfection. Each one of your pictures has me craving them more and more. Delicious!

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  13. Oh my sweet woman...this is so exciting! Ryan fell in love with these balls when we went on our honeymoon, but we haven't been able to find them here in Austin. Now I can make him some! Thank you so much for sharing. You made me and my husband very happy :-)

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  14. I am in love with these rice balls, awesome. badly want to try them.

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  15. Nagyon csábító, finom lehet

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  16. Wow!!! Ez annyira guszta! Szuper recept, el is viszem!:)

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  17. Oh why have I never heard of these wonderful creations? I am really craving one of these NOW!

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  18. thanks so much for your delicious link up over at my Italian Fest last week! Everything on your blog looks wonderful! This week I'm having a Mardi Gras party, come on over, anything goes as long as it's not too healthy ;-)

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  19. These are insanely delicious looking Elisabeth! My favorites are the plain mozzarella ones.

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  20. Wow these look great! With the rich tomatoey sauce and the gooey cheese in the center - I can't imagine a better Italian comfort food than these Arancini! Thanks for sharing!

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  21. it's made whoever has read this hungry and i'm actually hungry. i had an early brunch n nothing then...delicious...seriously delicious!!!

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  22. Yummy!!!! I am totally hungry after just looking at that picture...now I really need to try arancini!! thanx for sharing :)

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  23. Elisabeth I absolutely love arancini! There are a few restaurants I go to especially for them! I might actually attempt to make my own now!

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  24. Lizzie, your last photo is fabulous!!! Oh, I just have to make these (a pile of your recipes is building!). Maybe the meatless version for a Lenten supper? Yes, that's the way I'll start! You have so many unique, yet wonderfully enticing recipes...thanks, my friend!!!

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  25. So sicilian so yummy

    well done Elisabeth! Have a nice evening, Barbara

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  26. Never had the vegetarian version; being a devoted carnivore I tend to choose meat dishes :) however, there are some veggie dishes that I prepare (it's true that they merely serve the purpose of side dishes to my meats :))

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  27. Ciao Bella!!!
    Ma che meraviglia..sei trooooppo brava,grazie per aver fatto alla perfezione una ricettina italiana..complimenti!!!!;-)
    Un kiss

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  28. I am in love with these. You're pictures are so convincing. Dinner tonight!!

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  29. I have never seen this dish before, looks so delicious :)

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  30. Elisabteh this time you hit the bullseye! Love the recipe, BOOKMARKED!!!! This recipe was on my to do list, but now I'm totally going to make it ASAP! Your rice balls look so darn inviting and mouth watering, YUM!!! Thank you for sharing! Oh, my goodness, cannot forget the sight of all that gooey cheese!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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