Arancini 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 anorange (the Italian word for orange is arancia, and arancino means “little orange”), although in eastern Sicily (especially in Catania), arancini have a more conical shape.

Ingredients Preparation
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs, divided
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan 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 aside.
  • Cook pancetta in a large, deep pan until crisp and browned.
  • Remove 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, Parmesan, 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 in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Repeat.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Once your oil is ready (either it has reached 350 degrees or a wooden spoon handle dipped in the oil creates bubbles), drop balls a few at a time into hot oil.
  • Once golden (about 3 minutes) turn to cook the other side.
  • Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and set on paper towels.
  • Once all of the arancini is fried, place them on a baking sheet.
  • Warm them in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with your choice of tomato sauce.

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