Arancini ~ Italian Rice Balls
Arancini Translates to Little Oranges
Arancini: Italian Rice Balls, my families recipe has been around for at least 100 years; and we have always made them to have on Christmas Day, it wouldn't be Christmas without them. They can be prepared ahead of time and warmed up in an oven right before you're ready to serve them, they also freeze well too. We do the 7 fishes for Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day it's all about the meat (by then you're getting ready to grow a pair of gills from all the seafood the night before, lol).
This is a recipe from my Sicilian side of the family, and is a good example of Sicily's Arabic & Greek influence. If it seems a little sketchy in places it's because this recipe was never written down by anyone in my family; and in order for you to learn how to make them you must watch and learn. If I had a computer that can handle it I'd video tape me making them (or hire an actor, I'm not exactly a "Looker" if ya know what I mean, lol). So do forgive me in advance, I'm not being vague on purpose. There are many recipes for Arancina online, and I've included links to them so you can draw your own conclusions; you'll notice my recipe is a little different, and my friends fight over who gets to take any extra home (so it must be good). The only way you can get an Arancina slot is if someone on the list dies.
So many people I know take a shortcut and mix the meat and rice together; granted it will make your life easier. I don't do it that way; if you make them like this your rice balls may fall apart. Many add peas, I don't like peas in my Arancini (my family never made them that way); if you give me a rice ball with peas in them, I'll want to throw it at you (you've been forewarned, lol).
- 1 lbs of chop meat
- 1 small jar of pine nuts
- 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce (some use a sm. can of tomato paste)
- 1 cup of Golden raisins soaked in Sweet Vermouth
- 1 small onion minced
- olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
- a handful of parsley
- The night before you start take the raisins and soak them in sweet vermouth (if not over night, at least a few hours) drain the vermouth (you can omit this step and use plain raisins if you are alcohol-free). In a large skillet on low heat / flame add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add the minced onions, cook till translucent then add the small can of tomato paste and let that cook a few minutes constantly stirring add a little water to loosen it up (you can add the water to the empty can of tomato paste, this way you make use of all the tomato paste). If you choose to add tomato sauce, add it after you brown the chopmeat. Add the chop meat and brown it (if there is a lot of fat in the skillet, use a spoon to remove most of it), then add the golden raisins, parsley and pine nuts (you can also add salt and pepper, I recommend going easy on the salt, the grated cheese you add to the rice will have plenty of salt) . Let the meat cool completely or do this the night before and refrigerate till your ready to form the rice balls.
More Arancini Recipes
- Arancini on AllRecipes.Com
This is a great site for recipes of all kinds.
- Arancini di Riso Recipe : Giada De Laurentiis : Food Network
Food Network invites you to try this Arancini di Riso recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.
- Arancini Recipe : Emeril Lagasse : Food Network
Food Network invites you to try this Arancini recipe from Emeril Lagasse.
- Arancini Recipe on Epicurious
Read Around the World in 80 Dishes - In our ongoing video series Chef Joseph W. DiPerri, from The Culinary Institute of America, demonstrates how to make Sicilian Arancini di Risocheese-filled risotto croquettes with tomato sauce and other Cuisines a
- Rice Balls - Arancini
Cooking with Nonna, this is a great web site for Italian Recipes.
Making the Rice Filling - and Bread Crumb Outer Coating.
The key to make Arancini hold together is to NEVER ever rinse the rice before you prepare it, otherwise you'll remove the starch and they will fall apart (a common complaint for those who have tried to make this recipe). There is also a trick to making them, you need to add a vegetable shortening to the rice while it is still hot (as well as whatever cheeses you decide to add); once you do this you'll need to refrigerate them for a while, after the rice has been mixed well and cooled down a little. You can make the rice the night before; it's easier to make everything the night before, or you'd need to start early in the morning.
I use a pyrex lasagna tray, just to give you an idea of what you want to end up with. Make the rice according to the instructions on the box; some people cook the rice in chicken broth, I don't it's your call.
- 2 - 3 pound bag/box of Carolina Rice
- 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese
- 1/4 cup of Crisco vegetable shortening
- saffron (optional)
- 3 - 5 eggs (some use just egg yolks)
- 1 stick of butter
- Cook your rice as directed on the box, I repeat do not rinse the rice before you cook it. When the rice is done and while it's still hot add whatever cheese/s you'ld like to add; (my mother always used just grated cheese, many people add mozzarella) add a nice ladle of Crisco or store brand vegetable shortening and/or a stick of butter (my mother just used Crisco). Also, some people just put egg yolks in the rice; it's up to you. Let this mixture cool down a little before you add the eggs, basically you want to add enough egg/s to get a yellow tint to the rice (hard to see if you've added saffron, which I don't use my mother hated it).
Rice Balls Ready To Fry
Forming The Rice Balls
Now that your rice has been in the fridge a couple of hours, the Crisco (veg. shortening) and butter should have solidified along with the cheese/s; and the rice should stick together to form your rice balls. The easiest way to do this is to form the Arancina and bread them in the same production line, at the same time.
Hold out your hand like you're asking for money, and cover it with rice as you cup your hand (I use the large spoon pictured above in rice balls ready for frying photo). In the center of the rice mixture in your hand spoon in a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture; then make a motion to close your hand, you may need to patch the top with rice if you have small hands. You're going for the size of a large to medium orange (some make them smaller, I like to make them big enough so that you're guest are fairly satisfied with one. We always joked and said the rice balls tend to get as large as basketballs as you're getting tired and start rushing the job.
Next up is rolling them in eggs (that have been beaten) and then bread crumb; and that's it, they're ready to fry. Use the oil of you're choice, we use vegetable oil, heat it to around 350 (or there about); they should start to turn golden brown right away, if the oil is too cold, they'll take too long to cook and fall apart on you. Remove from oil and roll around on a brown paper bag or paper towels to remove the oil. I place them on a drying rack so they cool. You can serve them hot or freeze them, and warm them up in the oven as needed. Enjoy!
I can see my mother taking a bite and saying in Sicilian "I lived another year". My mother passed away in 2006, she had ovarian cancer; this is how she lives on through her recipes. Thank you for visiting my Lens, if you liked it please don't forget to "Squid Like" it. Thanks.
How To Make Arancini ~ Italian Rice Balls - Seeing Is Believing Check Out The YouTube Vids
It's so much easier to make these when you see how others do it. This is an involved recipe, and a labor of love; well worth the effort, once you make them I'll bet you do so every year. They make a great appetizer.