First the Arancini

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the table set, it was time to get busy in the kitchen preparing the Sicilian dinner.

Without question, one of my favorite foods in Sicily was arancini which I swore not to make noting that it was rather labor intensive.  No way though could I pass on it knowing that it possibly would be a new taste treat, so I bit the bullet and got started.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArancini is basically a risotto ball so the first step is making your favorite risotto being sure not to let it get too soft and mushy.  Al dente is the buzz word.  When it has cooled enough to handle, roll the risotto into golf ball sized shapes with a small mozzarella ball in the middle.  Dip the balls in beaten egg whites and roll them in a mixture of equal parts flour and bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper and chopped basil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce your balls are prepared,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfry then in olive or canola oil over medium high heat until browned on all sides.  A deep fryer would likely be a little more efficient than a skillet.  I must tell you this part can be a little tricky as the balls tend to fall apart if they are handled too much so do use care when moving them around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARemove the balls from the oil and drain them well on paper towels.  Making the arancini is more time consuming than difficult I learned, but the good thing is it can be made a day ahead and reheated in the oven or warming drawer.  That takes a lot of the pain out of preparing the rest of the meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt serving time, put a heaping portion of  meat sauce in a bowl and top with 2-3 arancini.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and coarsely chopped basil or Italian parsley. Then sit back and enjoy the moans of pleasure that will come from your table.  That makes the effort all worthwhile!

While you may have a favorite meat sauce, I can’t resist sharing Chef Michael’s recipe for Sicilian meat sauce with its flavorful blend of ingredients.

1/4 c. olive oil

1/2 c.  each finely chopped onion, carrot and celery

1 lb. ground pork or Italian sausage

1/2 c. red wine

6 oz. tomato paste

28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

3 c. beef broth

1 T. fennel seeds, toasted and ground fine

2 cloves minced garlic

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the pork or sausage, stir until broken up and cook until browned.

Pour in the wine and cook until it has nearly evaporated.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add diced tomatoes, beef broth, seasonings and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Remove the bay leaf and season to taste.

As you might guess, this sauce is great with most any pasta.  Double the recipe, freeze the extra and you have sauce ready for another time.  Not a bad idea!


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20 thoughts on “First the Arancini

  1. I’ve heard arincini is delicious and you’ve now talked me into making them. Risotto is a great dish so, deep fried would be incredible! I imagine it is a bit of work. I made risotto with peas this week.

    1. Arancini is my new favorite thing!

  2. I second that “be still my heart”. Sigh
    The food looks great, and the citrus on the table is GORGEOUS.

  3. Be still my heart!!!! Wow that looks great and the table is perfect for that meal!! I am definitely going to try the meat sauce recipe as I’m always looking for new sauce recipes. Thanks for sharing. Tina

  4. I have never heard of this dish Lulu, but it looks so yummy! I make a sweet and sour meatball and yes; they are time consuming. That’s why I don’t make them often. 🙂 Pinning and want to try this recipe some time. Thanks for sharing with SYC. Hope you are recovering well!

  5. Hi Lulu,
    Your table setting is so beautiful, I just love that color. I can’t wait to try your Arancini and Meat Sauce, what a fabulous recipe. I am sure pinning this one! Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing you awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  6. Oh, Linda this is a favorite Italian food of mine. Thank you so much for sharing and I will have to bite the bullet and try. I make risotto two or three times a month. I hope you are feeling better!

    1. I hope you will try arancini as it is well worth the effort. Thanks for good wishes. I feel free but helpless as not my style!

  7. Frying meatballs is something I avoid due to the time factor. But these little guys with mozzo centers look to be worth it! Thanks for sharing your sauce recipe. It looks delicious, and making double and freezing for later is what I love to do!

    1. Since there are now 2 of us at home, I’ve gotten quite good at making extra and freezing for later.

  8. I have always wanted to try making arancini, I bet your efforts were worth it! I’ll just come to your house! We tried to make a Bloomin Onion last night and it was a Bloomin Mess!!

  9. Oh my….talk about comfort food with the gourmet touch! Hope you are feeling better!!!!

  10. I’m with you on the labor intensive but they look wonderful. I’m sure I would like them.

  11. Patricia Kramberg January 19, 2017 — 4:35 pm

    Linda, Wow, that does look delicious! The only problem is I have never even made a decent risotto! I can just imagine my lumpy balls after all that effort. I will try your meat sauce( once I get rid of my holiday excess).


    Sent from my iPad


    1. Meat sauce and cookies…yum!

  12. I love arancini, reminds me of growing up. I’ve had them more as a snack food, but I like your presentation with the meat sauce. Sometimes the meat sauce is on the inside along with cheese and green peas.

    1. There seemed to be no limit to the ways arancini could be made. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much. Every one I sampled was different.

  13. Looks so good! Might have to give it a try. Hope you are healing quickly!!

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