Arancini Recipe | How to Make Authentic Sicilian Arancini
Updated: Jul 20
In Sicily, arancini (or arancine in Palermo) come in many varieties with different fillings. This recipe is for the most classic preparation, with a hearty ragù surrounded by a fried ball of saffron-flavored rice.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
Makes 10-12 arancini.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb (225g) ground beef
- 1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
- 1/2 cup (120ml) white wine
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2-3 bay leaves
- Fresh black pepper
- 4 tbsp (65g) tomato paste
- 1/4 cup (30g) frozen peas
- 2 oz. (55g) grated caciocavallo cheese (substitute a sharp provolone if you can't find it)
- 2 3/4 cups (500g) arborio rice
- 1 tsp (1g) saffron
- 4 tbsp (50g) unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour for battering
- Bread crumbs for battering
- Vegetable oil for frying
In a large saucepan, sauté the carrot, celery and onion in 3 tbsp olive oil for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is tender and slightly transparent.
Add the ground beef and pork. Sauté until the meat is browned, then add the white wine. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the smell of alcohol has evaporated. Add the ground cloves and bay leaves, then salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the tomato paste with 2 cups of water. Add this into the ragù, along with the frozen peas. Simmer, partially covered, until the sauce thickens and most of the excess moisture has evaporated, about 2 hours. Turn the heat off, stir in the caciocavallo cheese, and set aside to cool.
In a large pot, combine the rice with the saffron, butter, 3 tsp (15g) salt, and 5 1/3 cup (1250ml) water. Bring to a simmer, covered, and allow to cook until the rice has fully absorbed the liquid, about 20-30 minutes. Spread the rice on a large baking sheet and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare your batter dips. In one bowl, mix about 1/4 cup all-purpose flour with enough water to make a thin batter. You may need to make more as you go, so be sure to have flour on hand. Fill a separate bowl or plate with bread crumbs.
Before assembling the arancini, wet your hands to prevent the rice from sticking. Take a palmful of rice and use your fingers to form a shallow hollow in the center. Place a generous pinch of ragù in the center, then close the arancino with another palmful of rice. Roll into a smooth ball.
Dip the arancino first into the batter, then into the breadcrumbs. Be sure the entire ball is coated in both. When finished, place the arancino on a baking sheet while you make the rest.
To fry, fill a saucepan with just enough vegetable oil to submerge the arancini. Bring the oil up to a high temperature. If you want to be precise, use a thermometer to reach 350 degrees F (175 C). We prefer a simpler method, though: when a bread crumb dropped in the oil starts to bubble immediately, the oil is ready to fry!
Working in small batches or one at a time, carefully drop each arancino into the oil. Fry, turning occasionally with a fork, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to dry.
Serve warm. Buon appetito!