Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, arancini have filled the hearts and bellies of Sicilians since the 10th century. Sold on the streets of Palermo as a simple street food, you can enjoy the sights of Sicily’s great port town while you savor the island’s delicious flavors. Biting through a crispy exterior, you’re greeted with a soft and savory risotto. At the center of this heavenly treat there hides a decadent ragù or gooey melted cheese to fill your senses with ecstatic savory goodness. Served with a slightly acidic dipping sauce to balance all the flavors, there’s truly no better finger food than this Sicilian Arancini rice ball recipe. We recommend pairing arancini with an ice cold beer or Aperol Spritz.
ARANCINI WITH RED PEPPER PESTO
For the Risotto
▢ 1 cup arborio rice
▢ 2 tbsp Heritage Blend Olive Oil
▢ 2 shallots, minced
▢ 2 cloves garlic, minced
▢ 1 tsp fresh thyme
▢ 1 cup dry white wine
▢ 6 cups chicken stock
For the Arancini
▢ 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
▢ 1/2 cup all purpose flour
▢ 2 eggs
▢ 1 cup panko bread crumbs
▢ 5-6 cups oil for frying (vegetable or canola will work)
▢ Sweet Pepper Pesto to Serve
- Prepare your risotto. Place the stock in a saucepan over low heat.
- Bring a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat with olive oil. Add the rice and shallots and saute until the shallots are translucent and the rice is translucent. Add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds before deglazing with white wine. Stir continuously until the rice has entirely absorbed the wine.
- Turn down the heat, and add one ladle of warm stock, stirring constantly until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Continue in this manner, one ladle at a time, until the risotto has a creamy sauce but the rice grains still have an al dente bite to them. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- When you’re ready to make the arancini, line a baking sheet with parchment. Place 2 tbsp of risotto in your hand and flatten. Put one piece of mozzarella in the middle of the rice, and wrap the rice around it, rolling the rice into a ball. Place the ball on the sheet pan. Continue this process until all of the rice is gone.
- Create your assembly line by placing the flour in one bowl, whisk the eggs in another, and breadcrumbs into a third. Roll one risotto ball in the flour to evenly coat it, then roll it in the egg, and finally roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place the crumbed arancini back on the sheet pan and continue in this manner until all of your arancini are coated in breadcrumbs.
- Using a wok or deep frying pan, add enough oil to fully submerge your arancini when cooking. Turn the heat up to medium and begin frying once the oil has reached 350°F. Carefully turn the arancini over as needed to ensure an even browning on all sides and cook for roughly 3-4 minutes until the outside is golden brown and the cheese inside has melted. You may need to adjust the temperature at first to find the sweet spot. Continue in this manner until you’ve fried each arancini. Serve immediately with Sweet Pepper Pesto.