Rice Arancine are stuffed rice balls, which are coated with breadcrumbs, and fried. Arancini are usually filled with ragù (meat and tomato sauce), mozzarella, and peas. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings and shape. The name derives from their shape and color, which is reminiscent of an orange (the Italian word for orange is arancia, and arancina means “little orange”), although, in eastern Sicily (especially in Catania), arancine have a more conical shape.
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 4 eggs, divided
- 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs, divided
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano PDO
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup pancetta, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup smoked cow or buffalo‘s milk Mozzarella, cubed
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for frying
Set up three shallow pans for coating rice balls: one with 1 cup of breadcrumbs, one with flour, and one with 2 eggs, beaten; set them aside. Meanwhile cook pancetta in a large, deep pan until crisp and browned. Remove it with a slotted spoon and leave any grease in the pan.
In a large bowl, toss rice with pancetta, two eggs, basil, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, Parmigiano, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Add about an inch or two of oil to the pancetta pan and heat over medium high while you prepare the rice balls.
Using a large muffin scoop, scoop out rice mixture, press a cube of mozzarella inside and top with enough rice to cover. Release the scoop into your hand and press firmly into a ball. Dredge them in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Repeat for all the Arancine.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Once your oil is ready drop balls a few at a time into hot oil for about 3 minutes (they have to become golden). When they are ready remove them from oil with a slotted spoon and set on paper towels.
Once all of the arancine is fried, place them on a baking sheet. Warm them in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Now you can serve your Italian Arancine!