Saturday, July 25, 2009


I'm late with this, too, but I persist in my logic that it's still Friday somewhere!

Arancini [rice balls, sometimes pyramids] or arancine if you live in Palermo or Agrigento are Sicilian fast food and most Sicilians buy them. There is nothing like the aroma of some of these cooking as you pass a salumeria or rosticceria. I do know one or two people who make them, however, and the other day I felt ashamed to have been in Sicily for four years without putting myself through this procedure, though I have made them in the UK. If your idea of a relaxed afternoon is to make the hell of a mess in your kitchen, this recipe is for you! I should warn you that my arancini are not perfectly formed like the ones you can buy, but they taste just fine! You should make the ragù in advance [I make it and freeze in small quantities] and your risotto a couple of hours before you want to start forming the arancini. Otherwise it will all prove too much and you will get burnt hands into the bargain. Cook your peas a couple of hours before, too. Oh, I knew there was something else: you shouldn't mix metric and imperial measures in a recipe but I have because it's what I do.

Here we go, then. These quantities will make about 8 large arancini:

Small quantity of ragù which you have already made [there's a recipe here]
Small quantity of cooked peas
3 tablesp olive oil
600 gr arborio or other risotto rice - it must be risotto rice!
sachet of saffron powder
seasalt and freshly ground black pepper
just over 1 pint hot water for the risotto
100 gr mozzarella, chopped small
about 2 tablesp flour and water to mix to a loose paste
packet pane grattato or about 8 oz very fine breadcrumbs
groundnut or sunflower oil for deep frying

Make a saffron risotto: heat the olive oil, then add a little of the rice and stir around. When it takes on a little colour, add the rest with the saffron powder, seasalt and freshly ground black pepper and stir well. Lower the heat to simmer and quickly add about one third of the water. Stir until absorbed, then add another third and repeat the process. Add the last third of the water and stir again. Let the rice absorb this. The risotto is ready when the grains look considerably larger and are al dente. [On my hob this takes under 10 mins.] Let the risotto cool completely.

Ready? OK, stir the peas into the ragù. Add about half a pint cold water to the flour and stir. Put the containers of risotto, ragù and peas, mozzarella, flour paste and breadcrumbs on a table:

Now, Sicilian women have a technique of forming a ball of rice, then making a hole in it, spooning in the ragù and cheese and then closing the hole, but I am not that dextrous. Sicilians, look away now! I just dollop some risotto onto the palm of my hand, slap some ragù onto that, add some mozzarella and dollop some more risotto on top of that. Then I form the ball as best I can. Have fun! Next you need to dip the balls into the flour paste to coat them all over and then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Everything will get terribly mucky but it will be worth it! When all the balls are ready, put the groundnut or sunflower oil into a large pan [I use a wok], heat it and fry the balls. Please take care! When they are browned use a slotted spoon to lift them out onto a plate lined with kitchen paper. Serve hot, with a salad if you like. Sicilians, look away again! I nearly forgot to say that these are perfectly OK warmed up. Buon appetito.


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

It seems very messy but fun :-) I love Arancini, seems like a lot of hard work , and you have to be on the ball with your ragu and rice!!

Sure it was worth it though, and you are in Sicily...I would definetely try to make them once:-)

Minnie said...

Bonjour, Welshcakes - Saturday morning in Nice, off to the market because your recipe's made my mouth water! Thank you for the clear and meticulous instructions. Have a great w/e (if you can in that heat).

James Higham said...

There is nothing like the aroma of some of these cooking as you pass a salumeria or rosticceria.

Don't - mental cruelty! :)

CherryPie said...

Whichever way you prepare them, they sound delicious :-)

Gledwood said...

Don't worry; I post furry Fridays on Saturdays just about every week.

PS Today is SEALS, not that I'm brazenly advertising my bloggie or anything ~ hahar!

jams o donnell said...

They sound delicious Sadly I am sure I would make an utter cock of them if I tried to make them!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. every now and then I just have to make my life difficult! Hi again, Phidelm. Tell us all about the market! You have a good one, too. Sorry, Jamesie. Thank you, Cherie. That's OK, then, Gleds. Over to yours shortly.

Lucia said...

I love Arancini, I make them in winter or fall or spring. And in the summer I buy them at Lamana Bakery for a treat @ 2.49 cdn. I know it's a bit steep but less mess for me!

Devonshire Dumpling said...

Oh heck - I am drooling all over the keyboard again :(

Jan Pag said...

I love these - also good use of left overs. I make them but bake them on an oiled sheet in the oven without breadcrumbs - slightly healthier! Love your blog, helps me to dream of holidays

Cat said...

I've had a lot of fun making (and eating!) arancini since I came back - they remain one of my favourite snack foods.. this has reminded me to try again as it's been a while since I last made them!

Whispering Walls said...

I'm going to try those WL

Liz Hinds said...

I think I'd just buy them!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lucia. That sounds well worth the price to me! Hi, jams. I'm sure you wouldn't! Sorry, DD. Hello, Kitchen Queen. I will try it that way next time. Thank you. Hi, cb. Have fun the next time you make them. To me they are wonderful comfort food. Let me know how it goes, WW. I do, most of the time, Liz!


View My Stats