Arancini rice balls


Arancini, pride of Sicilian Cuisine, are small rice balls that date back to  Arab domination (IXth - XIth century). The Arabs used to "roll" a little saffron rice in the palm of the hand and then dress it with lamb. This undisputed king of street food, in eastern Sicily is called "arancino" (masculine version) and has a pointed or round shape; in western Sicily it is called "arancina" (feminine version) and has a round shape.

  • Catania
  • Palermo
  • streetfood
  • arancini rice balls

Complete meal




For 6 people:

• 1 kilo rice

• 1 carrot

• 1 celery coast

• 1 onion

• 600 g beef muscle

• 50 g butter

• 100 g grated Parmesan cheese

• 30 g grated pecorino cheese

• 1 glass of good quality red wine

• 500 g Pachino cherry tomato sauce

• 200 g peas

• 150 g soft Ragusan provola

• 2  bags saffron

• 00 Flour 

• Bread crumbs

• Coarse-grained corn flour (for every 6 spoons of breadcrumbs, add about one spoon of coarse-grained corn flour)

• Extra virgin olive oil


1st step: meat sauce (ragu)

1. Cut the onion, carrots and celery and brown them in a pan with oil; add the meat pieces and brown everything..

2. . When the meat is browned, blend with the wine and mix well.

3. After alcohol has evaporated, add the tomato sauce and raw peas. Adjust the salt and cook for a long time, not less than 3 hours (the sauce should be prepared the day before eating arancini).

2nd step: rice

4.  Put the rice into a pot and cover with a liter and a half of water. Add salt.

5. Cook until the water has absorbed; add the butter, grated cheeses, saffron and a few spoonfuls of the sauce.

6. Mix well, let it cool and rest for 3 or 4 hours.

3rd step: shape and season the arancini

7. Remove the pieces of meat from the sauce, fry them and then place them in a bowl. Drain the peas and place them in another bowl. Cut the cheese into cubes and set aside.

8.With wet hands, form compact balls of rise, similar to small oranges in size. Use the index finger to make a hollow in each ball. 

9. Fill the balls with the frayed meat, the peas and the cheese.

10. Use some additional rise to fill any gaps and pat the ball rise into a round shape with a lightly pinin one side. Prepare all the arancini and, as they are ready, lay them down on a tray.

11. In a high-edged bowl, prepare a fairly fluid batter with water and flour. Pour the breadcrumbs into another bowl and add the corn flour to obtain a more crunchiness.

12. Coat each arancino first with the batter and then with the breadcrumbs, taking care to coat the rice well during each step.

13. After coating, place the arancini on a tray.

14. Fry the arancini, a few at a time, in oil at about 180 °, in a non-stick frying pan with high sides. Turn them often and let them "dance" in the boiling oil until they are well browned.

15. Place the arancini on absorbent paper and serve hot.