WHAT IS ARANCINI?
Arancini or Italian rice balls that have a savory stuffing inside and a breadcrumb coating on the outside. They are a delectable treat that can be sized up to work as an appetizer or a main meal. The name comes from the fact that this dish look like little oranges, hence their name in Italian.
SUGGESTIONS WHEN MAKING ARANCINI
- Will Any Rice Do?
The key to getting this dish right is using the correct rice. The Italian short grain rice–Arborio or Carnaroli are the only ones that will do–their inherently creamy, somewhat sticky texture make them moldable when cooked and cool–so they are formed easily into balls that hold their shape.
- Saffron: It’s not just for looks!
Sicilian arancini is a bit different from northern varieties in a couple of ways. First, saffron is a must have both for the yellow color but, more so, the delicate aromatic flavor it lends the dish. The cheese of choice here is cacciocavallo, an aged southern Italian specialty.
- Chilling Makes The Difference
A tip to forming arancini: chill the cooked rice so that it firms up and mold into balls more easily. First, stuff and form the balls. Next, roll them in breadcrumbs to fry later–you’ll find the end result is an even crispier outer crust–one of the delightful aspects of this tasty dish. You can also make arancini up to one day before frying, which makes it an excellent make ahead dish.
WHAT PAIRS WELL WITH ARANCINI?
Serve arancini with a tomato-based sauce like our Quick Marinara. For wine look to chilled whites like a Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio or a Vermentino. (written by Chef Stef)