In Sicily, Arancini are served as a traditional street food. The name means “little oranges” and is derived from their size and typical orange color. They are traditionally made by boiling rice and then mixing in ingredients like ground meat or vegetables. At home, Arancini are a great way to use left-over risotto. You can roll and freeze them, then thaw to room temperature and fry for a last minute appetizer.
Recipe makes 16-20 Arancini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup onions, diced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoons allspice, ground
- ¼ teaspoons cinnamon, ground
- ¼ teaspoons cardamom, ground
- ¼ cup Sauvignon Blanc
- 3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup aged Gouda, plus extra for serving, grated
- ½ cup pumpkin, puréed* (see Chef’s Note)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 cups flour
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups bread crumbs
- 2 qt frying oil
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Make the Risotto
- In a medium sauce pot heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Add the salt, spices, and Sauvignon Blanc and keep stirring until all of the wine evaporates.
- Add ½ cup of broth and stir constantly until the broth is absorbed into the rice. Repeat this step until all of the broth is used and the rice is tender. The consistency of the rice at this point should be creamy; if it is sticky or dry, add more water until it is soft and pourable (meaning, if poured onto a plate, it will run flat and not hold its shape).
- Turn off the heat and stir in the butter, Gouda, pumpkin purée and lemon juice. Pour into a shallow dish and refrigerate until cool.
Make the Arancini
- Once cool, scoop up two tablespoons of the rice mixture and form into a little ball. (If the rice is too loose, fold in some bread crumbs to give it enough body to hold its shape.) Repeat with the remainder of the rice.
- Coat the rice balls in flour followed by the beaten egg mixture and the bread crumbs. Cook immediately, or refrigerate for up to two days, or freeze.
- Preheat the oil to 350°F in a large heavy saucepan. Add the Arancini and fry until golden brown on all sides (about 3-5 minutes). Strain onto a wire rack.
- Sprinkle with grated Gouda, chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds, and serve immediately.
In recent years there has been resurgence in heirloom variety pumpkins with names like Cinderella, Fairytale, and Red Kuri. Many of these pumpkins are rich in flavor and color. If you have trouble finding heirloom pumpkins, butternut squash makes a wonderful substitution.
To make pumpkin purée, cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and place the cut side down onto a cookie tray. Bake at 300°F for 2 hours or until tender. Scoop out the flesh and purée in a food processor. Freeze any extra purée for later use in pumpkin pies.