Sicily will always be close to my heart. I have fond childhood memories of being there: the blue sea with crystal clear waters and wonderful beaches, friendly hospitable people and of course memories of incredible food like "arancini"!
Arancini or little oranges are fried rice balls which originate infact from Sicily.
They are a handy way to use up leftover risotto and Sicilians will take these to the beach as they are easily portable and are therefore an ideal tasty packed lunch.
If you are entertaining they are also great party food.
The classic recipe has meat ragu as a filling but I have prepared mine with a filling of Prosciutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano instead. I have also enriched the risotto with extra grated Grana Padano cheese.
Grana Padano and Prosciutto di San Daniele carry the PDO logo which guarantees high quality, authenticity and traceability.
The process for producing Grana Padano is long and thorough. After the wheels of cheese have been taken out of the brine, they are left in gently ventilated rooms at a temperature of 15 – 22° C and then transferred to the ageing warehouse to rest for nine months.
The wheels are then regularly checked, cleaned and turned approximately every fifteen days and then examined by impartial testers from the Consortium of Grana Padano Cheese with the traditional inspection tools: a small hammer and a needle.
Prosciutto di San Daniele comes fom San Daniele del Friuli. This is a perfect place for curing prosciutto: here the breezes of the Adriatic sea meet those from the Alps and the Tagliamento river regulates the temperature. There are centuries of experience in the production of this prosciutto, which results in a delicate taste, so soft to palate that it melts in the mouth.
But now over to the arancini recipe. Hope you enjoy it 🙂
- Prep Time : 35 minutes
- Cook Time : 30 minutes
- Yield : 10
Bring the water to the boil, add a pinch of salt, the rice and the saffron. Stir well, add the tomato puree, salt and pepper and cook for about 15 to 18 minutes over a moderate heat. When the rice is cooked add a knob of butter, the grated Grana Padano cheese and mix well.
Spread the rice on a baking dish. This will help in cooling it down. Cover it with cling film, to avoid the top getting too dry and let it rest until it is completely cold.
Chop the prosciutto di San Daniele and dice the Grana Padano. Roll a tablespoonful of rice between your wet palms and form a ball. You can give it the typical pear shape of the arancini if you like. Poke a hole in the middle and put in some prosciutto and a cube of Grana Padano then cover up the hole with some rice.
Roll the arancini in flour. Whip the eggs and then dip them in the egg first and then into breadcrumbs, rolling well so all sides will be covered with breadcrumbs.
Heat up a pan with plenty of oil and when it is really hot (check by dipping in an arancino, it should sizzle) fry the arancini in batches.
Scoop them up with a slotted spoon and put them on a sheet of kitchen towel to absorb the extra oil.
This post is in collaboration with the Consortiums of Grana Padano and Prosciutto di San Daniele