Arancini in Palermo

Italian arancini Sicily
One of my all time favorite snacks are arancini. A Sicilian speciality of fried rice balls with various fillings. I've put them on the menu as an appetizer at a few of my restaurants and was excited to try "the real deal" when I was in Palermo.

Palermo Central Station

Nearby Market


Arancini means "little oranges" in Sicilian and they can be found all over Palermo but the best ones i had were at the train station. Saffron coloured rice is formed around a ragu of tomato, meat and peas, coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown. They're about the size of a baseball and a great deal for €1.30 at several kiosks in the station. Soft and crispy at the same time, the arancini here are a bit messy, because the filling is so juicy. They taste amazing, but take a couple of napkins from the stand

Arancini can also be filled with cheese, prosciutto, or seafood. In restaurants I serve mine stuffed with mozzarella di bufala and served with a sundried tomato arrabiata sauce. In Rome these are known as supplì al telefono, because when you break them apart the strings of cheese in the center resemble telephone wires.

Here is my recipe for mozzarella stuffed arancini:
  • 300g Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 250ml tomato juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • a few strands of saffron
  • 200ml white wine
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 150g fresh mozzarella cut in 1cm cubes
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • salt
  1. Saute garlic and rice in a large pan for one minute
  2. Add white wine, saffron and half the stock and simmer until liquid is absorbed
  3. Add the rest of the stock, tomato juice and about 1 tsp salt and stir until the liquid is absorbed again
  4. stir in Parmesan and remove to a bowl until cool enough to handle
  5. divide the risotto into approximately 3 tbsp portions. form the portions into ball shapes.
  6. Press a hole into the center of each risotto ball and stuff the center with a mozzarella cube
  7. Close the risotto around the cheese and roll in breadcrumbs
  8. Deep fry in vegetable oil until golden brown
Serve with arrabiata sauce and fresh basil
see more photos of Palermo at AdventureFood Photo Blog

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1 comment

  1. I'm making this for tiffin tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!



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