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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
500 g risotto rice, Arborio
500 ml vegetable oil, refined
500 g bread crumbs
For béchamel sauce:
40 g butter
40 g wheat flour
1 pinch nutmeg
For filling:
100-150 g cheese, like hard Mozzarella
50 g chopped pistachios
For batter:
200 g wheat flour
200 g wheat flour
Salt
Arancini – Sicilian Stuffed Rice Balls with Cheese and Pistachios

Arancini – Sicilian Stuffed Rice Balls with Cheese and Pistachios

Features:
  • Vegetarian
Cuisine:
  • 80
  • Serves 6
  • Medium

Ingredients

  • 500 g risotto rice, Arborio

  • 500 ml vegetable oil, refined

  • 500 g bread crumbs

  • For béchamel sauce:

  • 40 g butter

  • 40 g wheat flour

  • 1 pinch nutmeg

  • For filling:

  • 100-150 g cheese, like hard Mozzarella

  • 50 g chopped pistachios

  • For batter:

  • 200 g wheat flour

  • 200 g wheat flour

  • Salt

Directions

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Aranchini are a traditional representative of Sicilian street food. They are stuffed rice balls with various filling, cooked in boiling vegetable oil. You will run into aranchini (translates as ‘little oranges’) in every café, at every food booth among mini pizzas and various types of pastry. The interesting fact is that in Palermo aranchini is female (aranchina) and are made round, and in Catania, the second largest city of Sicily, they are male (aranchino) and are made in the shaped of a cone. Local people say, that Palermo and Catania, two large seaports and wealthy cities in the past, have always competed with one another and tried to be as different from one another as possible in everything.

The most famous filling for aranchini is meat stew resembling bolognese, but Sicilian are in love with aranchini with cheese and pistachos or mushrooms much more.

I recommend you try aranchini with the most tender filling made from cheese and pistachios. This is the most Sicilian recipe. I learned the art of making aranhcini from the chef of a Catanese cookery school.

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Steps

1
Done

Arancini are interesting, but not easy to cook.

The logic of the cooking process and some secrets you will find here.

2
Done

In order to cook rice, take 1.2 l water for 500 g rice. Bring water to a boil, add 12 g salt, rice and cook half-covered until the water is absorbed. If all the water has absorbed but the rice is still slightly hard – add some boiling water and cook until done. Transfer the cooked rice onto a tray to chill. You may cover it with plastic wrap for the rice not to go dry.

3
Done

Prepare a béchamel sauce.

- Warm up milk. It should be hot, but not boiling. Set aside. You should keep in mind, that if milk is cold, the sauce will have lumps.

- Melt 40 g butter in a pot. Stirring, sift in 40 g flour. The mixture will start thickening. Cook about a minute over low heat, stirring constantly.

- Fold in hot milk.

- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, without lumps.

- Add some salt and a pinch nutmeg.

Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover the sauce surface with plastic wrap to prevent it from forming a film. Let it chill.

4
Done

Cut the cheese into 1x1 cm cubes. Chop the pistachios.

5
Done

In a big bowl, pour some cold water, wet your hands and start shaping the rice into 5 cm diameter balls.

6
Done

Press your finger into the center of each rice ball.

7
Done

In the center of each rice ball add some béchamel sauce, a few cheese cubes and chopped pistachios.

8
Done

Pinch the rice around the filling to enclose. You may make Arancini round like they are cooked in Palermo, or cone shaped, like on Catania. Shape them with your hands.

When the rice start being sticky, wet your hands in a bowl filled with cold water.

9
Done

Prepare the batter by mixing together 300 ml cold water, 20 g flour and a pinch of salt. The batter should be thicker than for pancakes.

10
Done

In a flat plate, place 500 g bread crumbs.

11
Done

Dip each arancino into the batter, then roll then in the breadcrumbs. Take each arancino in your hands and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Then roll them again for the breadcrumbs layer to be thick enough.

12
Done

Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer, or a saucepan. Mind that the oil should be hot and much enough for the aranchini to be fully covered.

13
Done

Working in batches, cook each aranchino until golden brown.

14
Done

Place the aranchini on a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.

How to serve:

Serve hot for the cheese to be gooey and stretchy.

How to keep:

Aranchini can be eaten during a day. They can also be kept refrigerated as ready-to-cook food, that is uncooked, up to 1-2 days. They can also be frozen.

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Caponata – Cicilian Aubergine Stew
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Caponata – Cicilian Aubergine Stew
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Spaghetti allo scoglio/ai frutti di mare – Sicilian Seafood Pasta

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