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- Meat and poultry
These delicious Italian rice balls are stuffed with Bolognese sauce, mozzarella, ham and eggs and coated in breadcrumbs. You can serve them as a main dish with a salad or as a starter.
3 people made this
- For the rice
- 2.5L water
- 3 chicken or beef stock cubes
- 2 pinches saffron
- 1kg risotto rice, such as arborio
- 50g butter
- 50g Parmesan cheese
- For the Bolognese sauce
- 300g pork and beef mince, mixed
- 1 onion, peeled and minced
- 70g tomato puree
- 400g tomato passata
- salt and freshly milled pepper
- 2 handfuls shelled fresh or frozen peas
- 1 carrot, peeled, rinsed and diced (5mm)
- 1 to 2 stalk celery, rinsed, and sliced into 1cm pieces
- For the filling
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 slice (5mm) cooked ham
- 2 mozzarella balls
- For the rice balls
- plain flour
MethodPrep:1hr30min ›Cook:45min ›Extra time:12hr cooling › Ready in:14hr15min
- Bring water to the boil with stock cubes and saffron. Add the rice and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. At the end, there should be almost no water left. Add the butter, Parmesan, and stir.
- Transfer the rice into a large plate, cover with a clean tea towel and let sit overnight.
- Heat a little oil and butter in a large frying pan and pot and cook the mince till evenly browned. Add onion and fry till translucent.
- Add the tomato puree, passata, a little water, salt and pepper. Stir and add the peas, carrot and celery.
- Cook till the water has almost completely evaporated. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Dice the hard-boiled eggs and ham into 5mm pieces. Dice the mozzarella balls into 1cm pieces.
- Take a about half golfball size amount of rice in the palm of the hand and make a little hollow.
- Add some ham.
- Add some mozzarella.
- Add 1 teaspoon bolognese sauce.
- And some egg.
- Enclose the filling with the same amount of rice and shape into a tightly packed ball by rolling it with your hands. Repeat till all the ingredients are used up.
- Mix the flour with some water till the mixture has the consistency of crepe batter. Coat each rice ball with this mixture.
- Spread the breadcrumbs on a large tray and roll the rice balls, 4 to 6 at a time, till well coated.
- Heat oil to 180 C and fry the rice balls till golden brown, 4 to 5 at a time.
- Remove from the oil and degrease on kitchen paper.
Rice (the day before):
Bolognese sauce (the day before):
Arancini (the same day):
If served as starters, make the rice balls a little smaller.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(3)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
- 1 1/4 cups arborio rice
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat until softened. Add the rice and stir over moderately high heat until it is coated with oil and sizzling, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer until evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the rice to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Stir the thyme and lemon zest into the rice and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, blend the ricotta with the Parmigiano and season with salt and pepper. Put 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture in your moistened palm. Make an indentation in the center of the mound and fill it with about 1 teaspoon of the ricotta mixture. Fold the rice around the filling to enclose it and pat the rice into an oval. Repeat with the remaining rice and ricotta.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 inches of olive oil to 300°. Set a rack over a large baking sheet. Put the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in 3 shallow bowls. Dredge the rice ovals in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the ovals in the egg, then coat with the bread crumbs. Deep-fry 5 ovals at a time until golden brown, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the arancini to the rack to drain while you fry the rest. Serve the arancini hot or warm.
My First Time in Sicily
When I was 19 years old, I spent 9 weeks traveling in Europe. I actually make myself jealous when I think about this now.
However, even though I was young, I really did appreciate everything I did and was able to see at the time. This is because I had worked very hard to pay for the trip myself. I bought my airline ticket and paid my transportation costs within Europe. However, I was lucky that I was able to stay with family everywhere I travelled.
Consulting my map, in Roma (pre-iPhone!)
I was in Southern Italy visiting my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for the longest part of my trip (5 weeks). While there, my Uncle Nino, Aunt Rita and cousin Marco stopped by our village to visit the family. They were driving from Scotland to their other home in Sicily. When Uncle Nino heard how long I planned to be there, he asked me if I wanted to go with them (!)
Let’s just say I didn’t have to think about my answer: I packed a small bag and was on my way to Sicily that afternoon. Never having been there before, I was absolutely elated at the thought of traveling somewhere new in Italy, especially since it was completely unplanned.
Crossing the Strait of Messina on a ferry from Reggio Calabria at dusk was magical to me: the far-off twinkling lights on the island where my grandparents had once lived, beckoned us to the shore. “La Bella Sicilia” looked so enticing in the evening, and the Mediterranean breeze made the atmosphere even more wondrous that night. I couldn’t wait to experience all that Sicily had to offer.
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- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 quart water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 1 ½ cups dried bread crumbs
- 2 cups olive oil
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, parsley, pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate.
Pour water and 1 teaspoon salt into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and reduce heat to low. Cook rice until water is almost absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and slowly pour in egg mixture, stirring rapidly to prevent egg from scrambling. Allow rice mixture to cool for 1 hour.
Pour bread crumbs into a pile on one end of a cutting board. Dampen hands and roll rice mixture into 1 inch balls, then coat each one with bread crumbs.
In a small, deep skillet, heat olive oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). (Should have enough oil to completely cover rice balls.) Fry rice balls 6 at a time, turning as needed to ensure even browning. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.
Classic Sicilian Arancini (Arancine di Riso)
Arancini, rice balls stuffed with sauce and peas, are one of the best-loved Sicilian snacks and street foods. They have become increasingly popular throughout Italy and worldwide.
The filling in this recipe is one of the most classic—a meat ragù, green peas, and melty mozzarella. The rice is scented with saffron and the rice balls are rolled in breadcrumbs before frying them into croquettes. Usually, they're made with caciocavallo cheese, but since that can be difficult to find outside of Southern Italy, Parmigiano-Reggiano is used in this recipe.
There is considerable debate among Sicilians as to whether this dish should properly be called arancini (masculine) or arancine (feminine). You may have seen this dish spelled both ways. In western Sicily, it's argued that these rice balls are usually called arancine because that word means "little oranges" the balls are round and like arancia, the word for orange in Italian.
In eastern Sicily, arancino is the term more commonly used and it's usually made in more pear-shaped form because, it's believed, the term comes from the name of the fruit in Sicilian dialect: arànciu. At this point, arancino has become the more widely diffused name, particularly in English-speaking countries.
Whether you call them aracini or arancine, these delectable rice balls can be eaten as an antipasto or snack, or even as a meal when coupled with a salad or soup. They're commonly served with marinara for dipping.
Italian Rice Balls Tips
Tip: If you like them to be quite golden, spray nonstick spray on the top side of the Italian rice balls as well as spraying the pan. That will start the process of browning on all sides.
If your rice balls are not holding together add some flour a little at a time to bind with the egg and make the rice stick.
If you like your arancini balls saucy, you can mix a little of your marinara sauce in the rice mixture. When you break it open, you will already have a bit of that tomato sauce goodness inside.
Serve with your favorite marinara or other sauce for dipping, set on top of the sauce, or pour the sauce over the Italian rice balls. Garnish with fresh parsley, basil, or other herbs or add some fresh veggies to the plate. Enjoy!
If you like quick and easy pantry cooking ideas, check out some of our other recipes like our Traditional Cuban Rice Recipe Moros Y Cristianos and Veggie Noodles Like Zucchini Spaghetti.
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