"When you're food shopping in Sicily, everywhere you turn you will see arancini. They come in a multitude of sizes and with a wide variety of fillings. At the beach they seem to be quite large to match one's appetite. I have to confess that these cheese and ham ones with a splash of tomato sauce are my favourite, but even just herb and mozzarella is delicious. My family like theirs filled with meat sauce (ragù), but I recommend you experiment to find your own favourite." ~Ursula Ferrigno.
250g (1 1/3 cups) Arborio rice
A generous pinch of saffron strands
100g (1 1/3 cups) freshly grated pecorino cheese
100g young pecorino cheese, cut into cubes
100g cooked ham, cut into cubes
100g passata, or strained tomatoes, mixed with 2 crushed garlic cloves
A handful of flatleaf parsley, freshly chopped
3 Tbs Italian ‘00' flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
150g (1 1/4 cups) dried breadcrumbs
Olive oil or groundnut oil, for frying
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the rice in salted water for approximately 10 minutes. Add the saffron and continue to cook for 8 more minutes until sticky. Drain and place the rice onto baking parchment-lined baking sheets, spreading the rice out to a thickness of 1cm.
Place a 6cm round cutter or a tumbler over the surface of the rice to create individual portions of rice. Allow the rice to cool.
Place the grated cheese, cubed cheese, ham, 1 teaspoon of the passata, or strained tomatoes and some parsley on each of the rice rounds. Season well.
Using a palette knife, lift the rounds off the baking sheets and form them into balls, carefully sealing in the filling. I place the round in the palm of my hand like a nest and squeeze gently to seal.
Dip the rounds in the flour, egg and breadcrumbs and deep fry until golden in plenty of oil. Lift out of the oil and drain on paper towels.
Arancini are best served warm.
Credits: This is an edited extract from Flavours Of Sicily by Ursula Ferrigno published by RPS RRP $45.00 and is available in stores nationally from May 1, 2016.
Photo Credits: This is an edited extract from Flavours Of Sicily by Ursula Ferrigno published by RPS RRP $45.00 and is available in stores nationally from May 1, 2016.