Street Food in Italy: Arancini Di Riso
Arancini Di Riso, or oranges of rice, are little risotto balls shaped like orange. Often they are stuffed with things like ground beef, sausage, salami, prosciutto, peas, mushroom, and etc. They are one of the most popular street food in southern Italy. Today, I am making a vegetarian version of the Arancini, which is with pistachio, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato filling. It is a great antipasti dish for entertaining guests, which you can serve in paper cones to bring out that street food feel.
Make 8 balls
What you'll need:
For the risotto:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion , peeled and finely chopped
- 250 g risotto rice
- 1 large pinch of saffron
- 80 ml dry Italian white wine
- 800 ml vegetable stock
- 20 g Parmesan cheese , finely grated
For the filling:
- 40 g green pistachios kernels, finely chopped
- 100 g ball of mozzarella , drained and chopped small
- 60 g sun-dried tomatoes , chopped
- 1 small handful of fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
For the pane:
- 1 litre vegetable oil , for frying
- 100 g plain flour
- 2 large free-range eggs , beaten
- 200 g fine dried breadcrumbs
For the arrabiata sauce:
- 3 cloves of garlic , peeled and sliced
- 1tin plum tomatoes (400g)
- 1 red chilli , sliced
- 1 small handful of fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
How it's made:
- To make the risotto: heat a medium-sized pan over a medium low heat and add the olive oil. Once oil is hot, add the chopped onions and saute for 10 minutes or until soft. Turn the heat up to medium and add in the risotto rice, stir well to make sure every grain is coated, then add the saffron and stir again. Pour in the white wine and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes. Stir regularly. Start adding the vegetable stock bit by bit. Stir mixture thoroughly and after the stock is absorbed, then add another portion. Continue until the risotto rice is cooked through, roughly about 15–20 minutes. Stir in the grated Parmesan, then set aside to cool down while you make the filling.
- To make the filling: Combine chopped pistachios with the mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano leaves and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To form the arancini: scoop a portion of the cooled risotto into your hand. Spoon a tablespoon of the filling mixture into the center and wrap the risotto around it to seal completely, and form a ball shape. Repeat with the remaining risotto and filling.
- To make the pane: place the flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate three shallow bowls. Carefully dip each arancini ball in the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg, and finally the crumbs, ensuring the rice is completely coated. Set aside.
- To make the arrabiata sauce: fry the garlic and chili in a pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, season and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat. Then use a hand blender to blend the mixture smooth.
- To fry the arancini: pour the vegetable oil into a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over a high heat. To test the oil is ready, sprinkle in a few breadcrumbs – if they start to sizzle and float, then it is ready. Carefully lower in the arancini with a slotted spoon, in batches of three or four, and deep-fry for 6-8 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Place them onto a double layer of kitchen paper to drain.
- Serve the arancini with arrabiata sauce.