Sicilian Arancini

Arancini is a popular street food snack in the Palermo region of Sicily, and it's traditionally filled with a ragu, but today there are numerous variations on the classic including pistachio; shrimp; prosciutto and cheese. Sticking with tradition, here is a traditional meat recipe.




  • 10 cups of chicken stock
  • 1kg Arborio rice
  • 2 cups of cheese (Parmigiana and Pecorino Romano)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ cups white button mushrooms
  • 225g ground meat
  • ½ cup wine
  • 2 cups tomato passata
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1 cup frozen peas 


  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 2½ cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 litres of vegetable oil for frying



  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the rice, then bring it to a simmer. Cook (covered), for 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the broth. 
  2. Pour into a large shallow dish and allow to cool. Then stir in the grated cheese and the eggs. Mix thoroughly.


  1. In a large sauce pan, sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil over a medium heat. 
  2. Add the meat and brown, stirring often. Pour in the wine and cook for 1 minute or until the wine is absorbed. 
  3. Pour in the passata and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, loosely cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour until it has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in the peas and then set aside to cool.


  1. In a deep and large, heavy bottomed casserole dish, add the vegetable oil. 
  2. Prepare two bowls: one with breadcrumbs and one with the beaten eggs. Transfer the prepared sauce to a third bowl. 
  3. Using a ½ cup measuring cup, scoop the rice into your hand and shape. Make an indentation in the centre of the rice ball with your thumb and add a spoonful of the meat sauce. Close the rice around the meat sauce and shape into a ball. 
  4. Dip into the egg wash and roll it in the breadcrumbs. 
  5. Place the handle of a wooden spoon in the pot and if the oil begins to bubble and fry around it, it is ready for your arancini. Fry 7 or 8 arancini at a time until they are golden brown, which takes approximately 4 minutes. Transfer to a dish lined with paper towels to absorb the extra oil. Serve hot.


If you're a bit pushed on time to make these in one go, you can always cook the rice the day before, while the meat sauce can be prepared and refrigerated up to two days before. Meanwhile any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days - simply reheat in the over at 180C / 160C Fan / Gas Mark 4 for approximately 10-15 minutes. Just make sure they're piping hot throughout.

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