Giovanna’s Bellia la Marca Arancini

December 22, 2022
0 Ratings
Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • makes 6 to 8 arancini
Author Notes

When I visited Giovanna, I was hoping she would show me how to make arancini from my new book, Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking, but instead, she wanted to show me her version, and I’m so excited to see what the differences are, and what little tricks she has for us here.

Arancini is a really quintessential Italian food; you encounter it on the street—so very nice—and you walk around eating it, no knife and fork needed. They’re really everywhere. Sicily doesn’t grow rice, yet they have some really, really lovely rice dishes; arancini is definitely one of them. First off, you want to boil your rice with saffron, which results in this gorgeous, sunny color. The rice itself is also important—here, we’re using arborio, an Italian, short-grain rice. And we want a short-grain rice because when it cooks, it’ll become sticky, which is how the arancini holds together. Sushi rice would also work as a substitution, as it is also a sticky rice that holds together. —Food52

What You'll Need
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Giovanna’s Bellia la Marca Arancini
  • Ragú Sauce
  • 1/2 pound each of beef, veal, and pork (or just 1 ½ pounds of ground beef)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Caciocavallo cheese, shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 28 ounce cans Italian whole peeled tomatoes, gently crushed
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Arancini
  • 2 cups Italian Arborio rice, American Carolina rice, or sushi rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Caciocavallo cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • Fillings
  • 1 cup ragú or meat sauce
  • 5 ounces frozen tiny peas, thawed
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • Assembly
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups canola or vegetable oil, for deep frying
  1. Place the rice in a pot, add the water, saffron, and salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook in a slow simmer for 20 minutes. The rice should absorb all the water, if there is some water left, strain the rice.
  2. When the rice is cool enough to handle, add 2 eggs and the grated cheese. Mix well, set aside and assemble the fillings. Take a handful of the rice mixture, make an indentation for the filling, top with additional rice to completely enclose the filling (I fill the round ones with ricotta and mozzarella and the pointed ones with ragú, peas, and mozzarella). Press and turn the arancini to be sure that none of the filling is showing through the rice. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or even overnight.
  3. When ready to serve, make the flour paste by mixing the flour and water into a slurry, coat each arancini with the paste, and coat with breadcrumbs and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes before deep frying.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or in a pot in which the oil fills only half way to 330°F. Gently lower the arancini into the hot oil using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, and turn to brown evenly, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and place in a baking pan lined with paper towels to absorb the residual oil. Serve warm.

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1 Review

Carmen R. April 20, 2023
Where are the directions for the ragú?