A Sicilian street food originating in the 10th century, these fried risotto balls are typically filled with a ragù of tomato sauce, mozzarella and peas. The Sicilian moniker recalls their semblance to oranges (arancia), hence: arancini, or little oranges. In Rome, a similar fried delicacy is filled with cheese and given the name supplì, while in Naples, they are called palline di riso (balls of rice). No matter which city of origin you subscribe to, these delicious fried treats make the perfect party canapé, late night post-drink snack, or yummy Sunday lunch. I made them for our flat warming party and they were a hit – the combination of gooey melted cheese, crunchy fried goodness and warm rice is truly sublime. They can even be made ahead of time and reheated when your guests arrive – just serve with a good bottle of Nero d’Avola for the perfect transformation from Sicilian street to party treat.
6 small mozzarella pearls
(or cut a big ball into 1/6ths)
150 g day-old risotto
100 g bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50 g flour
2 litres vegetable oil
- Take your day-old risotto out of the fridge. Grab a handful of the risotto and lay it flat against the palm of your hand. With your other hand, put a small mozzarella pearl in the middle, and roll the rest of the risotto around it to form a ball. Roll it around between your hands to smooth it out. Repeat until all of the balls are formed.
- Put the flour, lightly beaten eggs and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Using one hand for the dirty work and keeping the other one clean, roll each ball around to cover starting with the flour first, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs to coat. Once they have been dipped, rolled and covered, use your clean hand to place the balls on a clean plate.
- Pour the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan or wok and bring the heat to medium-high. You can check the heat by throwing in a bit of flour – if it begins to sizzle, it’s ready.
- Carefully drop each risotto ball into the oil and fry until golden brown – approx 2-3 min. Regulate the heat as necessary.
- Once the arancini have been fried off, drain off the excess oil on a paper towel. Serve immediately, or store and reheat at 400 F/ 200 C for 5-7 min.