May 22, 2011

More Sicilian Gold- Arancini

Arancini, fried rice balls; looking like small oranges, are probably the most famous Sicilian street food. We had our own lesson in the art of Arancini making at Foresteria Planeta in Menfi as part of our Sicily Culinary Adventure.

Our chef Angelo Pumilia is a fabulous and funny teacher and we all became experts easily.

Angelo at work with part of the group

There were several secrets to the arancini making, but the ragu which filled them was a traditional family recipe from the Planeta family. I can't wait to make it here for my husband.

In Sicily, there are various shapes of arancini, each shape means that there is a different filling inside. There is a cone shape, a log shape, a pear shape. Always ask! The round is meat ragu usually with peas.
Other fillings may be tomato sauce with cheese, ham and cheese or spinach and mozzarella. But there are a million creative ways to fill them.

ragu enriched with peas and cheese for filling

it's a messy job, but someone has to do it

the secret is teamwork
Our finished product

  • The basics are a Saffron-infused rice, not cooked as risotto, but regular rice cooked in a saffron broth, no need to stand and stir. Ratio of rice to broth is key. Like a pilaf.
  • Make a rich ragu, let cool and add small cubed cheese and peas.
  • Flatten rice in palm of hand and fill with ragu.
  • Seal and close into a ball. Let rest.
  • Dip in a light egg, milk and flour batter then roll in breadcrumbs.
  • Let rest again.
  • Deep fry quickly, but not too long. The arancini will keep cooking once out of the oil too.
  • Eat with your hands!

Watch Angelo in this Video- forming the arancini

I fully support learning about the culture of a place through cooking. Where ever you go, please take a market tour or a cooking class as soon as you arrive in a new location. You don't want to miss anything!

A Tavola non si invecchia
One does not age at the table


  1. Oh send me some! Actually I love the cheese ones best. Are suppli still arancini?

  2. it is like empanada but the difference it is wrapped in dough yours is rice. how I wish I could taste it. looks delicious and nutritious too

  3. Arancini play a major role during our family holiday. We ceremoniously give my father the first hot arancini, which he sprinkles with salt. When he gives us the thumbs up, we fry up the rest. Your post makes me want to fly over to Sicily.

  4. I have never made them, always thought they would be too time consuming. You make them sound easy and quick too.

  5. Wow!! I love it! I'll keep coming back for more recipes.

  6. Alissa1:54 AM

    That's a great tip. I agree, you can taste people's culture through their food, specially the street food. I'd like to try the Arancini, it looks yummy. Buying them is like when you buy gold coins!