By Angela Denstad Stigeler
Of all the ways to eat rice, none is so fun as the classic Sicilian street food known as arancini. Made from leftover risotto, and filled with leftover tomato sauce, they’re one of those foods that become much more than the sum of their parts. They take their name from the Italian word for “oranges,” which they resemble in shape, color and size. A fried and yummy snack or light meal, they’re just as sunny as their namesake, and perhaps even more likely to incite smiles. They’re fun to prepare and easy to eat on-the-go. You can toss them into lunchboxes, or make them small enough for appetizers. You can even keep them on hand in the freezer so they’re at-the-ready for a quick reheat. You may even find yourself making the risotto just for the sake of this secondary offering, which is a perfect way to make rice nice—twice!
(Sicilian Rice Balls)
3-4 cups cold leftover risotto (see last week’s Thyme Out for the recipe)
1-2 eggs, separated
1-2 cups fresh bread crumbs
about 1 cup (approximately) of meat sauce, bolognese, or ragu
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
vegetable oil for frying
Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Place the egg whites and a tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl and beat with a fork. Add the yolks to the leftover risotto and mix. Place the bread crumbs in a small bowl. In another small bowl mix together the meat sauce, peas and cheese.
Mound some risotto into your hand using a quantity a little smaller than what size you want the finished arancini. With a spoon or your hand, make an indentation in the risotto. Place at least a tablespoon of meat sauce in the indentation, add some risotto over the top and gently mold the whole thing into a ball. Roll the arancini in the egg whites and then in the bread crumbs and place them on the prepared tray. Refrigerate them for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, Line a baking sheet with paper towels and heat enough oil for frying. When the oil is hot enough for frying, carefully lower the arancini into the oil, being sure not to crowd them. Let them cook until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot or room temperature. Arancini can be made in advance and reheated in the oven. They can be frozen for up to a month.