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Recipe of the Week: Arancini Filled with Meat Sauce


PHOTO PROVIDED Chef Loretta Paganini

A delicious stuffed risotto ball, coated with bread crumbs then deep fried. A popular Sicilian dish traditionally filled with tomato meat sauce and peas or gooey mozzarella cheese. It gets its name from “arancia,” a small orange in Italian because of its shape. Served as an appetizer or a snack anytime of the day. Serves eight. (Chef tip: The secret to crisp arancini is fresh homemade bread crumbs and hot 350°F vegetable oil for frying them.)

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 large eggs

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

4 cups hot chicken stock

2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bolognese sauce, as needed

Vegetable oil, as needed for frying

Heat butter and oil together in a large sauté pan. Add shallot and cook until translucent. Add rice and cook for one minute while stirring. Add wine and let it evaporate. Continue stirring while adding the broth half a cup at a time. Cook until rice is “al dente” and broth has been absorbed, about 23-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Five minutes before the rice is cooked, stop adding broth to allow the rice to absorb all of the liquid. Remove from the heat and cool for about 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.

Sprinkle cheese over the rice, add two eggs and 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and mix well. Beat the remaining two eggs with salt and pepper. Place breadcrumbs on a plate. Take the prepared rice and form into little balls about the size of an egg. With your thumb make a hole and fill with Bolognese sauce. Fold rice up and over sauce, completely enclosing it. Roll rice balls into egg mixture then into the breadcrumbs. Chill for 10 minutes while heating the olive oil to 350°F in a fryer or a deep pan. Fry the rice balls in the oil until golden brown about five minutes. Drain on paper towels before serving them. Serve arancini with fresh tomato sauce.