2 hrs 45 mins
Italian rice croquettes with ground meat fillings that Sicilians consume as snacks. The idea sounds simple, but few dishes can tell as much about the peoples who have contributed to the Island over the centuries: The canestrato fresco (a fresh, mild, firm cheese that's generally replaced with mozzarella off the island) from the Greeks, the rice and saffron from the Arabs, the ragout from French, and the tomato sauce from the Spanish. Because they're the pride of rotisseries they never figure in restaurant menus, though they're certainly good enough to. In addition to being fine snacks they make excellent antipasti at parties, and if you make several small batches with different fillings they'll work very well with other fried foods as part of a fritto misto (mixed fried foods). Or you may want a lighter meal, and just serve them with a tossed salad. Making the filling according to the traditional recipe will take a couple of hours, during which time you can cook the rice as well and let it cool. The actual assembly and frying of the arancini will take about an hour more. If need be you can prepare the filling ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. The rice, on the other hand, should be cooked when you're ready to proceed.
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Units: US | Metric
- 1 1/2 cups rice
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- 1 cup grated parmigiano (freshly grated, not from a can)
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 lb ground beef
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 small onion
- 1/4 cup packed dried funghi porcini
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 lb mozzarella cheese or 1/4 lb fresh soft provolone cheese (if you're in Sicily you will want to use canestrato fresco)
- 1 cup fresh peas, boiled
- salt & pepper
- oil (for frying)
- organically grown orange leaves, as garnish (optional)
- 1Begin by preparing the filling: Finely slice the onion and mince the garlic, and sauté the mixture in the olive oil until it wilts.
- 2Stir in the ground meat, continue cooking until it is well browned, and then stir in the wine.
- 3While it's evaporating, dilute the tomato paste in a ladle of warm water and stir it in.
- 4Season the mixture to taste, and simmer it over a very low flame for a couple of hours, adding more warm water or broth as necessary to keep it from drying out.
- 5Towards the end of the cooking time, steep the dried mushrooms in boiling water for a few minutes and coarsely chop them.
- 6Stir them into the sauce too; cook it for 15 minutes more and it's done.
- 7While the meat's cooking, simmer the peas until they're tender.
- 8Then remove them from the fire, drain them, and let them cool.
- 9Dice the mozzarella into half-inch squares and combine it with the cool peas.
- 10The other thing to do while the meat is cooking is prepare the rice: boil it in abundant, lightly salted water, and while it's cooking lightly beat two of the eggs.
- 11When the rice is done drain it.
- 12Transfer it into a bowl, let it cool slightly, and stir in the beaten eggs, grated cheese, and saffron.
- 13Let it finish cooling.
- 14When everything else is ready, lightly beat the remaining eggs and season them with salt and pepper.
- 15Then, preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C).
- 16Next, make the first arancino by taking two small handfuls of rice and shaping them into hollow hemispheres Fill the hollows with some of the meat, and some of the peas, and mold the two halves together to obtain a smooth-sided rice ball about the size of a small orange (1. 5- 2 inches in diameter).
- 17Roll the arancino in flour, dredge it in the beaten egg, roll it well in the breadcrumbs, and fry it in abundant hot oil.
- 18While it's cooking begin with the next, and when it has become a golden brown drain it on absorbent paper.
- 19When you have finished frying your arancini, heat them through in the oven for five minutes, decorate them with the orange leaves if you choose to, and serve them piping hot.
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Nutritional Facts for Arancini di Riso (Italian rice Balls)
Serving Size: 1 (329 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4
- Amount Per Serving
- % Daily Value
- Calories 810.3
- Calories from Fat 371
- Total Fat 41.3 g
- Saturated Fat 12.3 g
- Cholesterol 285.5 mg
- Sodium 366.0 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 67.8 g
- Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
- Sugars 4.2 g
- Protein 34.0 g
The following items or measurements are not included:
dried funghi porcini