More information about Arancini and possible variations is under recipe as always.
Classic Sicilian Arancini – Steps: Risotto, Meat Sauce, and Breading
Arancini is stuffed risotto, classically with a ragù sauce, then battered and deep or pan fried.
Risotto – make sure is it thick and the liquid is absorbed properly for shaping https://food-heritage-archives.com/2020/08/10/risotto/
- Onion sautéed in oil
- Ground Meat – your choice
- Tomato Sauce and Paste
- White or Red Wine
- Sautée onions in oil then brown the meat
- Deglaze with wine, then add peas, sauce, and paste to finish cooking meat
- You want the sauce to be the same consistency or thicker as the photo below as you will need to stuff the rice with this. If you think it is too thin, run the sauce through a sieve and add more tomato paste
- Put on a sheet pan to cool quicker
Breading – dip in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs of choice.
- Put your risotto into one hand, flatten, and then add a heap of sauce. Cup hand to help shape into a ball, adding more risotto if needed to fill gaps. The size of a small lemon is perfect.
- Bread the arancini then let set in fridge for a good 1/2 hour at least. They are great to make ahead of time and then fry when you’re ready.
- You oil should be in the the range of 350F if deep frying, but pan fry like any other food, rotating it as needed
Serving – It goes great with tomato sauce and some arugula. You can top with crispy bacon and mozzarella or try multiple cheeses to find your favorite.
More About Arancini, and variations
Arancini has been around for at least 1,000 years, so there have been many variations throughout the years, a very classic Italian way is this Sicilian style. Although most arancini you find in recipes or restaurants is strictly cheese-based, it traditionally has meat, and cheese is optional.
Good variations to do will be to actually add cheeses inside, such as half a small marinated mozzarella ball, or fontina.
A good option for the meat is pancetta or pork jowl, or, chicharrones or cracklings.
There are thousands of ways to prepare and use risotto, but I will go into detail at the under the recipe as always.
Risotto Bianco – the most basic risotto.
- The proper rice – arborio, carnaroli, or packages that say “risotto rice”
- Chicken Stock – the ratio is at least 2.5 or 3.5 of liquid to 1 of rice
- Diced onion
- Butter and parmesan
- White Wine or dry vermouth is optional but is used often to deglaze
- Get your stock warm in a pot, and keep it at a gentle simmer
- The rest of the instructions will apply to a separate pan. A wide pan is best.
- Add onion and sautée in butter until softened
- Turn heat to med-high and toast the rice – cook until translucent without browning. If you see any browning of the rice, stop and go to next step, but it is not the worst for a couple brown grains
- Deglaze with wine, cook until almost fully evaporated
- I keep my heat 3-4/9 now. Add about 2 ladles of the stock for the first go around, then 1 ladle of stock at a time from there on. Do not add more until it is absorbed.
- Stir at least once a minute, going into the rice is cooked to al dente, 15-20 minutes. If it is not done after 20 minutes from adding the stock, the rice needs to be toasted more and/or the heat needs to be higher.
- **The classic Italian way is Al Dente, but I personally prefer cooked all the way through.
- Add butter and freshly grated parmesan.
More About Risotto
As I stated before, risotto possibilities are endless. Once you have this basic risotto down, you can branch out and do a milanese (which is just adding saffron) use beef stock, add mushrooms, top with pesto; really anything.
My favorite additions: sautée bell peppers or celery with the onions, add crushed tomatoes to stock, top with chicken and/or balsamic reduction.
About the rice: The reason risotto recipes call for certain types of rice is because of their starch content. The creaminess of the end product comes from the rice even before the added butter and parm.
A favorite thing of mine is to make the risotto bianco and then make arancini (fried rice balls) with the leftovers. A post for that will be ready by 08/13 with a link in this spot.
Interesting Fact: During the regime of Mussolini, the wheat and semolina imports to Italy were seen as damaging to self-sufficiency, and the solution was rice. It could be produced domestically, and although the campaign for rice was not fully successful, the many recipes for risotto and free rice given to the people made it more well-known.
Now risotto is a popular Italian dish, with the Croatians and others taking a liking to squid ink risotto among other variants.