recipe

ARANCINE

Hello everyone! I am Manu from Manu’s Menu and have been a member of the Daring Kitchen since 2011. I love this community and when Shelley and Ruth asked me if I could step in with a challenge for January, I did not even have to think about it. It’s been an emotional roller coaster these last few weeks and it still feels surreal to be writing a challenge for the Daring Cooks’ without Lis. It feels surreal and hard, but at the same time right, as I know Lis would have wanted this community to keep going. I know many of you understand what I mean. I would like to dedicate this challenge to Lis: you are and will always be terribly missed!

Even though I have been living in Australia for 7 years, I was born and brought up in Milan (Italy) by Sicilian parents and my blog is all about authentic Italian home cooking. I cook a lot of Sicilian food at home, I would actually say that I cook mostly Sicilian food, as that’s what I have grown up eating. I love it: it is hearty and tasty! So, today, I would like to challenge all of you to cook a Sicilian street food classic: Arancine (also known as Arancini in the Eastern area of Sicily). The recipes I will share with you are my family’s recipes. This is the way my father’s grandmother used to make arancine for the whole family. My dad learnt from her and I from him… and today I am honored to pass these recipes onto all of you! I think they are amongst the “oldest family recipes” I have! So, ready to start?

ARANCINE

Recipe Source:
Arancine al Ragu’ – Manuela Zangara, Arancine al Burro – Manuela Zangara, Arancine agli Spinaci – Manuela Zangara

Blog-checking lines:
January’s Daring Cooks’ challenge was a ball! The lovely Manu from Manu’s Menu brought our taste buds to the streets of Sicily and taught us her family tradition of making arancine – filled and fried balls of risotto. Delizioso!

Posting Date:
January 14, 2014

Download the printable file HERE

Note:
As an advocate of authentic Italian cuisine I would advise you all to try, whenever possible, to cook Italian dishes with Italian products. In this specific case, try and use authentic Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano) and other Italian cheeses, if available. Also, use fresh mozzarella and not the shredded kind as the taste is quite different. Last but not least, a note about the rice: use risotto rice like Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano – do not use long grain rice as you will need to first make a risotto and then turn it into arancine.

Mandatory Items:
Prepare Arancine from scratch (that includes making your own risotto and filling/s).

Variations allowed:
You can use one of the following recipes or any combination you like. There are also plenty of vegetarian options and if you do not eat eggs, you can use a mix of flour and water (and then breadcrumbs) to coat your arancine. If you are vegan, this is an easy dish to veganize: fill your arancine with your favorite veggies and /or tomato sauce! I look forward to seeing your creativity at work!

Preparation time:
15 minutes to make risotto; 15 to 60 minutes for the filling (depending on what you fill the arancine with); 45 to 60 minutes for the assembly and a total of 30 minutes for frying (in batches). This dish can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and then fried just before eating.

Equipment required:
•Wooden spoons
•Knives
•Bowls and plates
•Colander (for spinach)
•Cheese grater
•Cling wrap
•Baking paper
•Frying pans
•Pots


Saffron Risotto

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (55 gm) (2 oz) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1½ teaspoons saffron threads
3 cups (750 ml) (600 gm) (21 oz) Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
½ cup (120 ml) white wine or extra stock or water
About 4 cups (1 litre) beef stock (depending on cooking time)
½ cup (120 ml) (55 gm) (2 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated

Directions:
1. Start by putting the stock in a pot and heat until hot. The stock has to be hot all the time while you are cooking risotto, so that the rice temperature does not drop when you add the stock to it.
2. Put the finely chopped onion and the extra virgin olive oil in a pot and let it cook on a slow (low) heat, until the onion becomes soft and transparent.
3. Add the rice, mix well and let it cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until the rice becomes translucent.
4. Now pour in the white wine and let the alcohol burn off by cooking on a high flame.
5. Then add enough stock to cover the rice and turn the heat to medium-low.
6. Keep cooking, occasionally stirring the rice and adding stock little by little, until the rice is a little more than half cooked. It is going to take about 13 minutes (NOTE – the rice HAS to be undercooked at this stage as it will keep cooking until it cools down completely. By the end of the process it will be just right).
7. After approximately 8 minutes add the saffron and keep cooking.
8. After the 13 minutes are up, turn the heat off and add the butter and Parmigiano Reggiano to your risotto. Mix very well, until it becomes creamy, but dry (if it’s too moist, you will have a hard time making balls out of it). Check for salt and season to your liking

9. Pour on a sheet of baking paper, spread well and allow to cool down completely.

Directions

Béchamel Sauce

Ingredients:
1 cup (250 ml) milk, hot
¼ stick (25 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) butter
2¾ tablespoons (40 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 pinch salt
1 pinch nutmeg

Directions:
1. Put the butter in a non-stick pot and let it melt. Add the flour and whisk constantly until well incorporated: this is the “roux”. Let it cook for a minute or two.
2. Now start adding hot milk little by little, while mixing continuously until the milk is well incorporated. Do not add more milk unless it is well incorporated. Keep doing so until all the milk is incorporated.
3. Add salt and nutmeg and cook it on a low flame for 10 minutes or until it thickens.

4. When ready, cover it (with plastic wrap) to prevent a film to appear on the surface.
Note: If you still get a lumpy sauce, do not throw it out. You can still save it and make it smooth by using a hand stick blender.


Arancine al Ragu’ – Meat Arancine

Ingredients:
Meat Sauce
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 big carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
10½ oz (300 gm) (ground) beef mince
7 oz (200 gm) Italian pork sausage (better if with fennel) – optional (if you don’t use this, just add extra beef mince)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) red wine
2½ cups (600 ml) tomato purée OR 1-2/3 cups (400 ml) tinned diced tomatoes plus 3/4 cups (200 ml) tomato purée
½ cup tomato concentrate
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons (30 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
5 peppercorns or a pinch of freshly grated pepper (optional)
1 cup (240 ml) (4½ oz) (130 gm) of frozen baby peas (not in the photo)

To Assemble
2 oz (60 gm) Mozzarella cheese, diced
1¾ oz (50 gm) Mortadella/Bologna, sliced and diced (optional)
Saffron Risotto (as per above recipe)
Egg white
Breadcrumbs
Flour
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
1. Finely dice the onion, carrot and celery and put them in a pot with the extra virgin olive oil. Let them fry on slow heat till soft (but not brown).
2. Then add the mince and the sausage (without skin) and stir well. Make sure to break the mince and sausage so that there are no lumps and it all browns well.
3. Raise the heat a little bit and add the red wine.
4. When the alcohol has evaporated add salt, the peppercorns and the tomato puree.
5. Add 4 glasses (1 litre) of water and the salt and stir. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for at least 1 hour (the more the better).
6. When almost cooked add the frozen peas and let them cook. Add water if needed (or reduce the excess water) until the right consistency is achieved. It has to be quite thick to make stuffing easier.

Directions 1

7. Make the Saffron Risotto as per the recipe provided and let it cool down.
8. When the rice has cooled down, make 10 to 12 balls with it and then open them by putting your thumb in one side. The hole has to be quite large to allow you to fill them as much as possible with the stuffing.
9. Fill them with 1 tablespoon of meat sauce. Add some cubed fresh mozzarella and mortadella/bologna (optional) and close the balls with your hands and keep them aside.

Add some cubed fresh mozzarella and mortadella

10. Roll them in egg white (slightly beaten with the fork) and then in a mixture of flour and breadcrumbs (half and half).

Roll them in egg white

11. Shallow fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. Serve warm.


Arancine al Burro – Arancine with Cheese Sauce

Arancine with Cheese Sauce

Ingredients:
For the Cheese Sauce
250 ml (1 cup) béchamel sauce (as per above recipe)
50 gm (1¾ oz) of mixed Italian cheeses (mozzarella, fontina, provola…), diced
2 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
2 tablespoons frozen peas, blanched
50 gm (1¾ oz) ham, sliced and diced

Ingredients

To Assemble
Saffron Risotto (as per above recipe)
Egg white
Breadcrumbs
Flour
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
1. Make the béchamel sauce and then add all the diced cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano.
2. Stir well, until the cheeses melt.
3. Add the blanched peas and let the sauce cool down.
4. Add the sliced and diced ham and stir well.

Directions 2

5. Make the Saffron Risotto as per the recipe provided and let it cool down.
6. When the rice has cooled down, make 10 to 12 balls with it and then open them by putting your thumb in one side. The hole has to be quite large to allow you to fill them as much as possible with the stuffing.
7. Fill them with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cheese sauce and close the balls with your hands. Keep them aside.

Make the Saffron Risotto

8. Roll them in egg white (slightly beaten with the fork) and in a mixture of flour and breadcrumbs (half and half). – see picture in Arancine al Ragu’-
9. Shallow fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. Serve warm.


Arancine agli Spinaci – Arancine with Spinach

Ingredients:
For the Spinach
7 oz (200 gm) wilted spinach, chopped
1 garlic clove
2½ teaspoons butter
Salt to taste

Ingredients

To Assemble
Saffron Risotto (as per above recipe)
250 ml (1 cup) béchamel sauce (as per above recipe)
2-1/3 oz (65 gm) Mozzarella, diced
Egg white
Breadcrumbs
Flour
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
1. Sauté the garlic with the butter. Add the wilted spinach and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Sauté the garlic with the butter

2. Make the béchamel sauce as per the above recipe.
3. Make the Saffron Risotto as per the recipe provided and let it cool down.
4. When the rice has cooled down, make 10 to 12 balls with it and then open them by putting your thumb in one side. The hole has to be quite large to allow you to fill them as much as possible with the stuffing.
5. Fill them with 1 tablespoon of béchamel sauce and 1 tablespoon of spinach. Add some chopped mozzarella and close the balls with your hands. Keep them aside.

6. Roll them in egg white (slightly beaten with the fork) and in a mixture of flour and breadcrumbs (half and half). – see picture in Arancine al Ragu’-
7. Shallow fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. Serve warm.

Roll them in egg white

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
You can prepare the fillings 1 day before you want to assemble your arancine. You can also assemble your arancine up to 2 days before frying them. Cover them with foil and keep them in the fridge. When you want to eat them, remember to take them out of the fridge a few hours in advance (they need to come back to room temperature) or the inside will remain cold even after frying them.

Additional Information:
Here is a video on how to fill and shape arancine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuZs-YKpjs8

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