Arancini, ‘little oranage’ in Italian due to its shape and color is fried rice ball coated with breadcrumbs. It is said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century. Arancini are usually filled with ragù/meat sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings and shape. Original Sicilians have points on the top like a cone.
I had arancini for the first time on a cruise ship, some years ago. It was love at first bite. I called one of the servers to ask what was in it (flavored with). He went to ask the chef. He came back saying, “Chef said, he has many ingredients in it.”.
With this recipe, I tried to come up with the taste I experienced on the ship.
Arancini di Riso
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
Authentically, arborio rice is used, but I think it works wonderfully with Japanese rice too!
• 3 cups cooked all-purpose, premium, medium grain Japanese-rice at room temperature or a tad warmer
• 1 tsp chicken/vegetable soup base (used after rice is cooked)
—or- 535 ml / 2¼ cups broth (to cook rice with)
• 240 g / 8.5 oz onion, diced small
• 1 large clove garlic, crushed/minced
• 225 g / ½ lb shiitake mushrooms cut in small pieces
• ¾ cup cilantro/herb of choice, chopped finely
• ¾ cup / 80 gr grated Parmesan
• ½~¾ tsp salt (add little at a time to taste)
• ¼ tsp ground black pepper
• 3 large eggs, beaten well in a bowl
• 10~12 fresh mozzarella-cubes 1½ cm sq / 5/8″sq
• ¾~1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, in a medium-sized plate/bowl
• ¾~1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs, in a medium-sized plate/bowl
• high smoke point vegetable oil for frying/deep frying
 How to cook rice
◊ To make the rice a little softer for stickier consistency, a little more water is to be added for cooking than what the packaging specifies. For 250 g (1½ cup) uncooked rice, 535 ml (2¼ cups) water/broth is needed.
◊ Combine 250 g (1½ cup) uncooked rice, 535 ml (2¼ cups) water/broth in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, let stand covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. Makes about 4 cups cooked rice.
◊ If using electric rice cooker, combine 250 g (1½ cup) uncooked rice, 535 ml (2¼ cups) water/broth in electric rice-cooker pot. Continue as directed by rice cooker manufacturer.
To prepare for arancini
◊ In a medium, non-stick saucepan, on medium heat, heat 1½ Tbsp oil, add cut onion, sautée until edges are brown. Add garlic, stir for half a minute. Add mushrooms sautée for half a minute. Add 2 Tbsp water (if rice was not cooked with broth, dissolve chicken base with 2 Tbsp water before adding), cilantro, and stir until the water is half way absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.
To assemble arancini
◊ In a medium/large bowl, combine rice, vegetable mixture, Parmesan, half of beaten eggs (1½ eggs), salt, pepper and knead/combine the mixture thoroughly.
◊ Fill a small bowl with water. For smooth rolling, dip your hands into the water.
◊ For each arancini, scoop small portion of the mixture (about 90 g/3 oz worth), cupping your hands, squeeze/press/roll and shape arancini tightly into balls. With index finger, make an indentation into the center of arancini. Push in one cut piece of mozzarella into the center. Close the hole, roll the arancini tightly again into a ball and set on a large platter.
◊ To avoid mess, follow these steps…
— First, roll arancinis one at a time in flour and set them on platter.
— Next, roll them in the beaten-egg bowl and put them back on platter.
— Then roll them in the breadcrumbs and cupping your hands, give them another squeeze/press/roll again. This may be done twice if needed to make the balls firm.
◊ Rinse the saucepan used for the vegetable mixture for deep frying.
Pour 1½ inches (4 cm) high of oil into the saucepan. On between medium and medim-low-heat, heat oil until it reaches 175ºC/350ºF on a deep-fry thermometer. Using a slotted spoon or skimming mesh, gently lower one aracini at a time into hot oil, working in batches if necessary. Fry arancini, turning until golden-brown and crispy on all sides, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately.
◊ Goes well with marinara sauce.
~ Buon Appetito! ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?