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Arancini, The Authentic Sicilian Rice Balls Recipe

Are you ready to treat yourself with a Sicilian delicacy? Try delicious Arancini: saffron rice balls stuffed with meat sauce and peas!
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Arancini, The Authentic Sicilian Rice Balls Recipe
  • Difficulty Moderate
  • Prep 30 minutes
  • Cook 10 minutes
  • Servings 14 arancini

Rice Arancini, sometimes also called Arancine, are balls of saffron rice stuffed with meat sauce and peas and then breaded and deep-fried until crispy and golden. Real goodness served as a snack or as an appetizer. This recipe originates from Sicily, Italy, as a popular street food.

The word “arancini” means “little oranges” in Italian, referring to the round shape and orange color of the fried rice balls. They are usually enjoyed hot, with a tender and flavorful filling surrounded by a crispy outer layer.

Arancini are created by shaping cooked risotto into either a conical or round form, with mozzarella cheese at its center. The dish is sometimes referred to as “arancini di riso al telefono” due to the way the mozzarella stretches into a string-like shape when the arancini are broken apart, resembling a telephone line.

Have you seen White Lotus Season 2 and fell in love with Sicily and Sicilian food? Can’t wait to try some arancini (without having to steal them like in the tv show)? This recipe is exactly what you’re looking for.


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  1. Cook the rice in a pot of salted water, trying to let it all dry out by the end of cooking. Dissolve the saffron in very little water and add it to the rice with the egg and grated cheese and mix well to blend everything together. Pour the rice onto a flat plate, spread it out well and let it cool completely.

  2. Soak the chopped onion in a saucepan and then add the ground meat. Season with salt and deglaze with wine, then add the tomato puree and simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Now add the boiled peas, stir and cook for another 5 minutes.

  3. Take a spoonful of rice and stuff it in the center with a teaspoon of meat sauce and some cheese. Close the arancino with more rice and shape it, giving it a round shape. Then coat the arancini in a small dish with beaten egg and then in bread crumbs. Fry the arancini in a frying pan with boiling oil, then lift them with a skimmer and place them as you go on a sheet of paper towels.

  4. Serve the Rice Arancini hot.