Arancine or arancini, according to the area of Sicily where you are are ,called female or male, are the street food of choice for ease of preparation, their storage and ease of transportation. They are found in all the bars and takeaways in Sicily and at all hours of the day.
They are prepared doing a ball of boiled rice with saffron. In the traditional version is stuffed with meat sauce, mozzarella and peas and then breaded outside to be fried in hot oil to give it compactness and protect the content, it is precisely the frying which makes similar to oranges giving it that golden colour and which is probably the origin of the name.
It ‘s almost impossible to determine the date on which the arancine appeared on the Sicilian kitchens, but for the type of preparation is likely to be a variant of the traditional Arabic food, in fact even today in the Arab countries people use to bring boiled rice with spices to mouth with their hands, accompanied by bits of meat. About the addition of external fried breading, someone wants to connect to the need to be able to transport the food, making it compact. Very suggestive is hypothesis launched by someone who wants to make up the breading an invention of one of the cooks of the Norman King Frederick II, Stupor Mundi, grappling with the problem of preparing food for long hunting trips.
At first glance, the traditional recipe, which includes a filling of meat and tomato wrapped in rice cooked with saffron, has a great contradiction because the rice, essential in the preparation, nowadays is not produced on our Island. But not many know that the cultivation of rice was introduced by the Arabs in the ninth century during their occupation continued to be produced until 1868 when it was banned cultivation in the vicinity of the villages after the unification of Italy officially for reasons health.
Below is the recipe for the preparation of the Arancini from our friend, the Chef Rosario Messina, owner of the Restaurant Porto Grande in Siracusa:
Dose for 10 Arancini
Time: 60 minutes
500 gr. Rice -200 gr. Beef Mince meat –
150 gt. of condensed tomato
150 gr. of peas
4spoons of tomato puree
100 gr of Caciocavallo cheese
breadcrumbs – olive oil-salt -carrots, laurel leaves, nutmeg, celery, flour, Mozzarella
Saute the ground of celery, carrot and onion for a few minutes
then add the laurel leaves, salt and black pepper and fade with red wine.
Add a few tablespoons of white flour 00,-concentrated tomato nutmeg and water
and cook for half an hour until a dark patina appears on the surface.
Boil the peas for about 20 minutes
Preparation of Rice
Brown the onion
add water in the proportion of 2 liters per kilo of rice
add stock cube and some ladles of ragu
then add the rice
the rice is ready when it has absorbed all the water
pour the rice and spread it on a plane
then spread over the parmesan and butter flakes
let it cool and store it in the fridge if necessary
Preparation of arancini
in a separate bowl combine the diced mozzarella and green peas with meat sauce
Once you are ready you will be able to combine all the ingredients, creating a nest with the rice in the palm of your hand into which you will put the meat sauce and peas previously prepared. Once closed you will have to pass it in the butter and breadcrumbs ready for frying.
P.S. white flour’ll need to create a thick creamy sauce that will keep the
inside of the arancini wet.