One place I have yet to cross off my travel bucket list is Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean.
Not only to ingest all the rich history, dazzling landscapes and architectural beauty but to also experience the delicious Sicilian fare, specifically the street food.
One of the most famous and widely available Sicilian street food is the arancino (plur. arancini). The name of these little morsels of deliciousness derives from the Italian word for orange – arancia (plur. arance). It just so happens to be a favourite snack of mine too. I’m not sure if I should be referring to it as a snack or a main course because one of these balls are very filling! Whenever I crave these, I typically tend to buy them at a local Italian restaurant because, to be quite honest, they seemed so daunting to make. But thankfully, I was taught how to make them from a Sicilian friend and although could be a bit taxing, it was much easier than I expected. The ingredients are quite simple it’s just rolling into balls (or round cones which is most typical in Sicily) that takes the most time. Arancini rolling party, anyone?
My kids love it with ragu which is a meat-based sauce that is commonly served with pasta. And I also like to add a nice chunk of mozzarella cheese as well that when freshly cooked is nice and melty and gooey and delicious.
These rice balls with meat sauce are one of those foods that you tend to crave often after having it (and when they’re all gone!), always a crowd-pleaser that even the pickiest will enjoy so make sure you make you as much as you can.
Enjoy these delicious amancini hot or cold and serve with some marinara sauce and also a glass of prosecco!
- 2 cups Arborio rice or Japanese sushi rice
- 100 grams Parmigiano Reggiano
- half stick (1/4 cup) of butter
- 1l beef stock
- 2 eggs
- a pinch of saffron, salt and ground nutmeg
- mozzarella, cut into small pieces
- 250g minced beef
- 2/3 cup peas
- 100g Mutti passata
- 1 tsp Mutti Tomato Paste
- 1/2 onion
- a little extra virgin olive oil
- a pinch of salt and black pepper
- 2/3 cup plain flour
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 2l extra virgin olive oil
- 1. Boil the peas for a few minutes then drain.
- 2. Fry the onion on a low heat with a little EVOO for 10 minutes, then add the minced beef on a higher flame, just for 5 minutes. Turn the flame down, add a pinch of salt and black pepper, and add the passata and tomato paste. After 30 minutes add the peas and keep cooking the sauce till it’s nice and thick. Set aside to cool.
- 2. Boil the rice in the beef stock, keeping it ‘al dente’. Drain the rice and add butter, Parmigiano, saffron, nutmeg and the eggs, briefly beaten. This mix should be sticky. Let it cool down by spreading it out – if possible – or simply by having cold water around the mixing bowl/saucepan for a few minutes. This operation is important to not let the rice overcook.
- 3. Time to get rolling! Take a small portion of the rice mixture in the palm of your hand, squeeze it firmly and put a spoon of ragù and then piece of mozzarella inside each ball. Close the rice balls by adding more rice on top and form into a ball and then roll them in flour first, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs last. Don't worry - you'll get the hang of rolling!
- 4. Deep fry in plenty of oil, making sure it’s always at around 160°C, turning your arancine often to make sure they get crispy and golden. Set them atop a paper towel covered plate to drain the oil and then serve hot or cold.
- - Serve with a marinara dip
- - Get creative and try different fillings!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Mutti Pomodoro; however, all opinions expressed are entirely those of the author.