Arancini are deliciously plump stuffed rice balls filled with ragu, peas, mozzarella and deep fried. Arancini are originally from Sicily and my version is simple to make and coated with fresh breadcrumbs making them extra crispy and simply exquisite.
1 x can of Doppio Concentrato (Double concentrate tomato sauce)
150g baby peas
550-600g mixed pork/veal mince
1 carrot (chopped into pieces)
1 celery branch (chopped into pieces)
¼ onion (chopped into pieces)
4-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
A few pinches of table salt
Generous bunch of fresh basil leaves
1 glass of water
1 fresh mozzarella ball (or Fior di latte)
500g Aborio rice
Thin slice of butter
¼ onion (chopped into pieces)
1 x vegetable stock cube
Fresh breadcrumbs in a wide bowl
Small bowl of water for your hands
Vegetable oil (enough for frying)
1 x medium size non-stick frypan
1 x medium pot for rice
1 x whisk or fork
1 x wooden spoon
1 x medium tray
Vincenzo’s Tip: Before starting to cook, place the empty tray into the freezer. You will use this to cool down the rice later on.
TO MAKE THE RAGU
1. Put the frypan on the stove at a medium-high heat.
2. Add 4-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil along with the chopped carrot, celery and onion until it begins to brown, then add the mince.
3. Mix the meat through using a wooden spoon and turning it over until both sides begin to brown.
4. After a couple of minutes, add fresh basil by breaking the leaves into small pieces, peas and a glass of water.
5. Leave this simmering and once it reduces, add the double concentrate and mix jut through.
6. Add a tablespoon of salt after 2 minutes and mix it once again.
7. Leave this to simmer on the stove on a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes.
PREPARING THE RICE
1. While the sauce is cooking, put the pot on the stove at a medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
2. Add the chopped onion and stir it into the oil. Leave it to become golden brown for 2-3 minutes and add 1 litre of water.
3. Once the water is boiling, add one spoonful of the ragu sauce and mix it through with a spoon, then add a stock cube.
4. Stir the water so the stock cube melts and once it has dissolved, add the rice.
5. The rice should cook for around 15 minutes (or until the water is absorbed).
STUFFING THE ARANCINI BALLS
1. While the rice is cooking, cut the mozzarella into small cubes.
2. Crack two eggs into a bowl and beat them well
3. Remove the rice from the stove and put it to the side.
4. Take the tray out of the freezer and pour the rice over the top of it, spreading it out and helping it to cool faster.
5. Leave this to the side as you cannot make the arancini until this is nice and cool.
6. Prepare the breadcrumbs by putting them into a bowl and put some water into another bowl leaving them side by side.
7. Dampen your fingers with water and using your hands (or a spoon), pick up a portion of the rice, flattening it slightly into your palm.
8. Add a spoonful of ragu to the centre, a cube (or a few) of mozzarella and then more rice on top.
9. Cup your hands around it making it into a ball and moving it around to make sure it is well rounded and that the ingredients in the centre are covered well.
VINCENZO’S TIP: Remember you can make these large, medium or small, depending on your preference and the occasion.
10. Once you have formed the balls, dip them one at a time into the egg, making sure you cover it all over and then drop it into the bowl of breadcrumbs, coating it well.
11. Repeat the above for all of your arancini and then prepare your oil by pouring it into a pan and heating it up.
FRYING THE ARANCINI
1. You can put the arancini balls into the oil when it reaches a temperature of between 130-150 degrees celsius.
2. Fry 1 or 2 arancini at a time (depending on the size of your pot) and they should sizzle as they cook. You should turn them slighty while they are frying to make sure they are cooking right through and the heat is distributed evenly.
HOW TO SERVE:
Make sure you cook the arancini just as you are ready to serve them as they are best enjoyed hot with the mozzarella melted right through.
You can serve them on their own or with a drizzle of sugo on top, placing them side by side on a chopping board with a few basil leaves to add a splash of colour.
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate…Enjoy!
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