Arancini siciliani

 

We are in Sicily, the triangle resting on the tip of the boot and spanning thousands of years of history, culture and  art. A crossroad of the Mediterranean where everyone has left its mark on gastronomy. Who dominates the rich and colorful cuisine of Sicily is the street food, which has gained great fame along the world with other landmarks dishes of the region. We talk about the arancini, a unique dish with an unmistakable flavor, crispy rice balls filled with ragù (meat sauce), peas and cacciocavallo cheese (or ham, butter and mozzarella cheese, in the latest version). It was born as a popular dish to last longer and originally was a ball of fried rice.

Round or conical? Arancini or arancine? The master of the street food always divides the western and eastern Sicily on their form and gender. The arancino has a perfectly spherical shape in Palermo and western Sicily, where it is known by the "Arancina", the feminine appellation; while in Messina and eastern Sicily is cone shaped and is called with the male version of "arancino". Regardless of all this, grab rice, meat sauce and oil and be ready to enjoy one of the most representative dishes of the beautiful Sicily.

Ingredients

250 grams of rice quality or Carnaroli

3 egg yolks

1 sachet of saffron

30 g butter

100 g of grated Parmesan cheese

For the filling:

150 grams of ground beef

1/2 onion

25g butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

100 g of peas

100 grams of cheese or scamorza cheese type

2 tablespoons tomato sauce (or peeled tomatoes)

100 ml of red wine

For breading:

2 eggs, breadcrumbs and frying oil

Directions

Boil the rice in about 600 ml of lightly salted water and, meanwhile, melt the saffron in a couple of tablespoons of water and add the egg yolks, then add all the rice. Complete with grated Parmesan cheese and butter, stirring well. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce for the filling by frying finely chopped onion with olive oil and butter. Add the ground beef, salt and cook over high heat. Add the red wine and let it evaporate. Then, add the tomato diluted in 200 ml of water, add salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes. In the meantime, cook the peas with a little water during 10 minutes and chop the cheese. When the peas are cooked but still firm, add them  to the sauce. As soon as the rice gets cold you can start to make writing the arancini. Put in your hand a thin layer of rice and crush it. Form a hole  in the center and put a tablespoon of meat sauce and peas and a couple of pieces of cheese and then make another layer of rice. Once this is done, shape the arancini trying to get the classic ball. Once we have made the rest of arancini, dip them in beaten egg and breadcrumbs and fry in hot oil. Place them on kitchen paper and serve hot.