The question arises spontaneously: is it called “arancina” or “arancino”?
The answer deserves a separate article. In short, in Palermo it is called arancinA and its shape is strictly round, while in Catania it is called arancinO and takes the shape of a cone.
The Arancini or Arancine are a typical specialty of Sicilian cuisine. A delicious street food loved all over the world. They are small timbales of rice, round or cone-shaped, filled with anything you could imagine, however, the traditional filling is meat sauce. The main feature of rice arancine is their crunchy crust that covers a soft and tasty heart, which resembles an orange (“arancia” in Italian) in its color and shape, hence the name “arancine”!
Hot or cold, they taste excellent and they are usually served as an appetizer together with Potato Croquettes, Mozzarella in Carrozza, Rice Suppli, Sfincione Palermitano and other delicacies. They are also ideal for enriching buffets! But they are so rich and complete that they can be enjoyed on their own as a single dish.
Arancine palermitane al ragú recipe
INGREDIENTS for about 10 pieces
- 500 gr of carnaroli rice or vialone nano
- 70 gr of butter
- 2 sachets of saffron
For the meat sauce (“ragù di carne”):
- 150 gr of minced pork
- 50 gr of minced beef
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 carrot
- a piece of celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 – 3 cloves
- 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 200 ml of thick tomato sauce
- 100 gr of peas
- 1/2 glass of white wine
- 80 gr of caciocavallo cheese (grated) + 50 gr in cubes (optional)
For the breading:
- 00 flour (6 – 8 tablespoons and even a little more depending on how much the arancini absorb)
- water as required
- breadcrumbs (could be gluten-free)
First of all, boil the rice in plenty of water and salt, and drain when “al dente”. Stir in a saucepan with butter and saffron until the mixture is perfectly blended and creamy. Transfer to a large baking tray so that the rice can cool down evenly.
For the meat sauce filling:
Chop the onion, the celery and the carrot very finely and fry in oil. Add the minced meat, let it brown for 1 minute, and then blend with white wine. Allow the wine to evaporate, then pour in the tomato puree, bay leafs, cloves, and cover with a lid. Cook at a low temperature for at least 50 minutes.
The meat sauce must be thick! Remove the lid, add the peas and cook until the peas are ready and the broth has evaporated well. This will take about 15 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and cloves and leave to cool for half an hour. Then, add the grated caciocavallo. Add salt and leave to cool completely. The secret to perfect arancine is a thick and compact ragù!
How to make the shape of the arancine
First make sure that the rice and the meat sauce are completely cold.
1: Take the rice and form a half-sphere using the palm of your hand;
2: Flatten the central part of the half-sphere and add the filling;
3: Add more rice to cover the sauce well;
4: Using both hands, form regular balls.
Store the rice balls in the freezer for a couple of hours before doing the breading.
For the double breading
In a bowl with high sides, add the flour and mix it with a few tablespoons of water in order to create a thick and sticky batter that is not too runny. Dip the arancino and make sure that it is completely covered with the batter. Then, transfer it to the bowl with the breadcrumbs and cover it completely.
Once you have finished making the arancini you can keep them in the fridge for 2 – 3 days, freeze them or fry them.
Use a saucepan with high sides. Pour plenty of peanut oil and, when the oil is boiling at a temperature of 175 °, lower the arancini in batches of no more than 3 pieces at a time. You can evaluate the perfect oil temperature by dipping a toothpick. If it fills with bubbles it is ready! Deep fry the arancini until golden and crispy.
Your arancine palermitane al ragù are ready! Hot, very crunchy and delicious!