Saturday, December 7, 2013

I Made Sicilian Arancini

It's been almost a year now since we've been to Italy. Chief and I are craving for the Sicilian Arancini. It is a local food originated from Palermo, Italy (where he is from.. and yeah yeah I know.. where the mafia started!!lol). I remember that I was with his mom when we bought the arancini from a local store and we all shared it for lunch.
Since then, we hadn't had a decent arancini. You can actually order it from Italian restaurants but of course nothing compared to the original we had in Palermo.
Aranci or Aranca pronounced as "aranchi or arancha" in Italian means oranges. This recipe is called Arancini because they look like oranges. In english, they are called rice croquettes or rice balls. 
Today, I decided to put an end to the craving. I watched a few videos on youtube and I checked our fridge and made my own version of Arancini.
This is the risotto. Riso is the italian term for rice. Cooking the risotto is a bit tricky and should be watched well.
I apologize for the quality of the photos. I was so hungry and cannot wait to start cooking so I used my phone to take them.
 This is the Ragu that I prepared for the filling. I used minced beef (it is what I have in the fridge). Ragu is the italian term for meat sauce. 
The only missing ingredient was the soft cheese for the filling. It can be a mozzarella or provolone cheese. I had to ask Chief to get it from the grocery quickly. 
He came back with the cheese plus these..

 Aww.. isn't he the sweetest? He said he doesn't want my vase in the living room empty of flowers.. and I'm sure he got me these because I was making him Arancini. He really didn't have to but it just made me more passionate to make the best Arancini for him.
Let's continue the cooking..
Ingredients to make Arancini are..
Risotto Rice.. I made this with Arborio Rice, Butter, Saffron, egg yolks, salt and grated Parmesan Cheese..
Then the Ragu.. minced meat cooked in olive oil with butter, onions, red wine, tomato paste and spices..The secret to a good Arancini is a tasty filling so make sure to make really good Ragu Sauce..
Sliced soft cheese. As I said it can be Provolone or Mozzarella. I am using Mozzarella because it's what Chief found in the grocery.

Then to coat it with breading we will need some beaten eggs.. i used two..
and some bread crumbs..
Here are my ingredients..
Now as preparation for making the balls, I placed some risotto on a plate and spread it. This way, it cools down quickly and helps with preventing your hands to get burned from the hot rice.
yes.. those red strings you see are the Saffrons..
You will be needing some water on the side to help you with rolling the balls and prevent them from sticking to your hands..
Shall we start?
Flatten the rice on your hands and forma circle. Make the middle part deeper as you position your hand in a scoop form. Put some ragu in the center and a big chunk of mozzarella in the center. Get another scoop of rice with your free hand and flatten to cover the other half of the ball. Roll the ball and make it smooth as much as you can (not lumpy). I make the ball roll on one hand around by putting my hand in a scoop form and make the ball roll around. 
As a tip, I suggest that you make the rice balls first (all of it!) because after dipping from eggs and bread crumbs, your hands become covered with ingredients. Which makes it a bit difficult to make the next batch of balls.
Dip the rice balls on eggs, then the bread crumbs. Make sure to cover the whole ball and have something like this..
 Do this step repetitively until all balls are covered and ready.
Fry the balls in oil. Make sure to have it covered in oil at least 3/4. If you want to fully dip it in oil, it will be better. I did the 3/4 one.
and here it is turned over..
Make sure not to over fry and the colors should be golden or orange. 
Here is my finished product.. Sicilian Arancini..
Make sure not to make too thick rice..


I made 19 balls in total.. and we ate 5pcs. 2 for me and 3 for Chief. 
He loved my Arancini! He said it is the best Arancini he has ever had. This is a big honor for me knowing how particular Chief. Let's say he is very spoiled when it comes to food. He has traveled a lot and has eaten on best restaurants all over the world. For him to comment that my Arancini was the best he had-- considering he lived in Palermo and has been having this dish his whole life... that is a star for me :)
I kept the rest of the arancini balls in seal-able bags to freeze.
Chief said we will serve it when two of our Italian friends come to visit ( which is in a few days time).. he cannot wait to brag to them that her non-Italian-Sicilian woman can make really good Sicilian food!


I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I had making the Arancini! 


CIAO!

-CARMI

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