Arancini - Sicilian Rice Balls
The Sicilian deep fried rice balls are officially recognized and included in the list of traditional Italian agri-food products of the Ministry of Agriculture, as Sicilian street food.
There are many versions of arancini (masculine noun in Catania) or arancine (Feminine Noun in Palermo). They vary in shape and size from area to area. In Palermo they are of considerable size and often rounded, in Catania they are smaller in size with shapes that identify the filling: - flat base and pointed cone with meat sauce - round shaped with butter - egg-shaped with ham, mushrooms or spinach
Often in the Catania area saffron is not added to the rice, but is white or takes a light red color from the tomato sauce. The name and the appearance of this street food is inspired by the citrus fruits and the composition accounts for various historical influences present in the area: the Arab one for rice and saffron, the French one for meat sauce, the Spanish one for tomatoes and the Greek one for the cheese.
(about 10-12 arancini) 500 gr of rice suitable for risotto (Vialone nano, Arborio) 40 g of butter 50 grams of grated Parmesan and pecorino (half and half) 200 g provola cheese in cubes 1 pinch of saffron salt to taste one cup ragu meat sauce
one cup green peas boiled
vegetable oil to deep fry
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the rice let it cook until well done. Drain the rice and add butter, saffron, a sparkle of grated cheese, eggs and flour. Let the rice cool down a little bit and with wet hands, take some rice and spread it on the palm forming a kind of hollow. Put in the center a tablespoon of meat sauce with some peas and 2-3 cubes of provola. Close with some other rice modeling a cone. Crumb and deep fry the arancini until golden