Arancini or arancine are fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century. Arancini are usually filled with ragù (meat sauce), tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings and shape. The name derives from the food’s shape and colour, which is reminiscent of an orange (the Italian word for orange is arancia, and arancina means “little orange”).
The main type of arancino sold in Sicilian cafes are arancini con ragù, which typically consist of meat in a tomato sauce, rice, and mozzarella. Many cafes also offer arancini con burro (béchamel sauce), or specialty arancini, such as arancini con funghi (mushrooms), con pistacchi (pistachios), or con melanzane (eggplant).
The arancini are considered a typical dish of the city of Messina, where they usually have a conic form.
In Roman cuisine, supplì are similar, but commonly filled with cheese. In Naples, rice balls are called pall’e riso (rice balls).
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 75 g butter
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 ⅓ cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ⅓ cup finely grated hard cheese ( Romano, Parmesan, Pecorino )
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 6 bocconcini
- 1 ⅓ cups dried breadcrumbs
- oil (to shallow or deep fry)
- Place the stock in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil and then reduce to simmer.
- Heat the butter in a large, heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion softens.
- Add the rice and cook for 1 minute or until the rice appears slightly glassy.
- Add wine and cook until it has all been absorbed. Add a ladleful of the stock and stir with a wooden spoon until all liquid has been absorbed. Repeat process until all stock has been used. Cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender yet firm and the risotto is a creamy consistency.
- Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool for 1 hour.
- Add egg to the mixture and stir until well combined.
- Roll 1 tablespoon of mixture into a ball then press thumb into the side, making a large indent. Place a piece of bocconcini in the indent and the reshape to a ball.
- Roll in the breadcrumbs and shallow or deep fry until they are golden brown.