ingredients
  • saffron, or 3 threads 2 pinches
  • Butter 30 g • 717 kcal
  • Rice 500 g
  • Salt a pinch • 1 kcal
  • Water 1,2 l
  • mozzarella 100 g
  • For the filling
  • Salt • 1 kcal
  • Black pepper
  • Onion, finely chopped 1/2
  • Butter 25 g • 717 kcal
  • Ground pork 100 g
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Tomato sauce 200 ml
  • green fine peas, frozen 80 g
  • mozzarella 50 g
  • Red wine 50 ml
  • mozzarella, small cubes 60 g
  • For the breading
  • Flour 200 g
  • Salt a pinch • 1 kcal
  • Water 300 ml
  • Breadcrumbs
  • deep fat oil
Calories refers to 100 gr of product

Often times, Sicilian rice balls are made from leftover risotto, but this recipe is so delicious, you’ll want to make a pot of risotto just for this purpose! Also known as Sicilian Arancini, they are balls of risotto stuffed with cheese and fried until golden perfection. This recipe is even more special than the classic Italian rice balls, because we stuffed the balls not only with cheese, but also with a rich pork ragu sauce. Just when you think Sicilian Arancini couldn’t get any better. The rice inside is moist and flavorful, while the outside is crispy and crunchy. This arancini recipe will have you creating delicious crispy balls of tender risotto in no time!

What are Sicilian Arancini?

Historians are not exactly sure where risotto balls originated from. Different cultures have their own spin on the recipe and they differ in terms of shape, fillings, and risotto. Sicilian Arancini is special in that the rice is dyed with saffron, which gives the balls a unique golden color.

How to make Sicilian Rice Balls

To make the Sicilian Arancini, you first need to cook the rice. Boil the water, add salt and rice, cook for 15 minutes. Now mix in the saffron (dissolved in a bit of hot water), butter, and cheese. Put the rice on a flat baking sheet, cover and set in the fridge for a few hours.

For the filling: Heat the olive and butter in a frying pan, and fry the onion until translucent. Add the ground pork and cook until done. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until it starts to evaporate. Add the tomato sauce, and seasoning and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peas and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

Once the rice has cooled completely, you can form Sicilian Arancini. Use your hands to take some of the rice and flatten it slightly. Add a teaspoon of the meat sauce, and a few pieces of cheese. Close the arancino ball and give it a sharp shape.

Mix water, flour and salt in a bowl. Dip the Sicilian Arancini into the flour mixture, one by one, then roll in breadcrumbs. Fry until golden.

Tips for making Sicilian Rice Balls

For this recipe, normal medium-long grain rice won’t work. You need short-grain arborio rice. This type of rice contains the right amount of starch that will give your Sicilian Arancini a creamy texture.

The options for fillings are almost endless. If you don’t want to use a pork ragu, feel free to add cooked shrimp, or any other meat filling. For a vegetarian option, try spinach and feta.

How to store Sicilian Arancini

You can store the leftover Sicilian Arancini in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven (350°F) for about 15 minutes. You can reheat it in the microwave, but the balls will then lose their crispiness.

The risotto rice can be made a day before, cooled, and stored in the fridge. You can also make the meat sauce a day or two in advanced. You can also freeze portions of the meat sauce. The fried arancini can be frozen. Add the balls to a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, you can place them in a Ziploc bag and return to the freezer. Reheat it in the oven.

Instructions

Boil water, add salt and rice, cook for 15 minutes.

Dissolve saffron in a small amount of hot water and add to rice.

Add butter, grated cheese.

Put the rice on a flat baking tray with low sides, cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

For the filling: Heat the olive and butter in a frying pan.

Add the chopped onion, fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the ground meat, cook until done. Add the wine and boil it for 4-5 minutes. At this point, add tomato sauce, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook another 10 minutes.

Once the rice has cooled completely, you can form arancini.

Take a couple of tablespoons of rice at a time, mash a pile in the center of the hand, forming a depression, and pour a teaspoon of meat sauce, add a few cubes of cheese.

Then close the base of the arancino rice and give it a sharp shape. Mix water, flour and salt in a bowl. Then dip arancini, one by one, into the batter, trying to completely cover them, and roll in breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a saucepan and then fry until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Notes

To ensure that the oil heats evenly (with no cold or hot spots), use a heavy bottomed pan.  Don’t overcrowd your pan, otherwise your balls won’t cook evenly.