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Italian recipe: Arancini di riso

Arancini di riso, or Sicilian rice balls, are a traditional Italian dish made with rice, cheese, and a variety of fillings. 

Here is a recipe to make them at home:

3 cups cooked short-grain rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/4 cup peas (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped ham (optional)


In a large bowl, mix together the cooked rice, Parmesan cheese, beaten eggs, salt, and pepper.

Take a small amount of the rice mixture in your hand and flatten it out into a disk. 

Place a small cube of mozzarella cheese (and any optional fillings) in the center of the disk, then use your hands to shape the rice into a ball around the filling.

Repeat this process until all the rice mixture is used up, making approximately 12 rice balls. Roll each rice ball in the flour, then dip it in the beaten egg and coat it in the breadcrumbs.

In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the rice balls in the oil and fry them until they are golden brown on all sides.

Remove the rice balls from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil.

Serve them hot with tomato sauce for dipping.

History of Arancini di riso

Arancini di riso are a type of Sicilian rice ball, stuffed with a variety of ingredients and then fried. They are a popular street food in Sicily and can also be found in other parts of Italy.

The origins are somewhat disputed, but it is generally believed that they originated in Sicily during the Arab occupation of the island. The Arabs introduced saffron to Sicily, which is a key ingredient and they also introduced the practice of frying rice balls.

Arancini di riso were originally made as a way to use up leftover rice. The rice would be cooked and then mixed with a variety of ingredients, such as meat, cheese, or vegetables. The mixture would then be formed into balls and fried.

This dish quickly became a popular street food in Sicily. They were easy to transport and eat, and they were a filling and satisfying meal.

Today, arancini di riso are still a popular street food in Sicily. They can also be found in other parts of Italy, and they have even become popular in other parts of the world.

There are many different variations of the original recipe, each with its own unique flavour. Some of the most popular variations include:

  • Arancini al ragù: These are filled with a meat sauce, usually made with ground beef, pork, and veal.
  • Arancini al burro: These are filled with a mixture of mozzarella cheese and prosciutto.
  • Arancini alla Norma: These are filled with a mixture of eggplant, ricotta cheese, and tomato sauce.

Arancini di riso are a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a meal. They are a great way to experience the flavors of Sicily, and they are sure to please everyone at the table.

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