Arancine ( Deep Fried Sicilian Rice Balls)
If the gang at your football parties enjoy something a little special these balls of rice filled with meat sauce, breaded and deep fried will impress them. They are a popular Sicilian appetizer, first course or snack. While they take a little time to prepare, they can be assembled a day ahead and refrigerated then breaded and cooked when ready to serve. Arancine translates to “little oranges” which gives you an idea of the size of the end result.
The following recipe based on the 6 cups of cooked rice called for will make 12 Arancine.
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 small can tomato paste
½ cup red wine
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas thawed
Heat the olive oil and saute onions & garlic until transparent. Add meat and brown well. Drain any extra fat. Add tomato paste, red wine and salt & pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and meat mixture is dry. Add the peas, stir well and set aside to cool and then refrigerate covered till ready to use.
6 cups cold cooked Italian Arborio rice or cold white wine risotto
2 eggs lightly beaten
½ cup Romano or Parmesan cheese grated
2 eggs beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
4 cups Italian or Japanese style panko breadcrumbs
vegetable or canola oil for deep frying
Mold 1/4 cup of rice mixture into the palm of your hand making an indentation with your thumb. Fill that with1 tablespoon filling. Cover the filling with another 1/4 cup
rice and shape into a ball , making sure that the meat is sealed inside the rice. Roll the ball in the beaten eggs and then bread crumbs.
Heat oil in deep-fat fryer or deep pan to 375 degrees. Fry balls until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serve warm or room temperature with marinara sauce for dipping. Can be made vegetarian by substituting meat mixture with a ½ inch cube of provolone cheese or eggplant sautéed in olive oil and cooled before forming the balls.