Arancine (Rice Balls)

Arancine (Rice Balls)

By Silvia at Azienda Agricola Mandranova near Agrigento in Sicily.

You might enjoy this recipe on our tours in Sicily or try it at home!

One funny anecdote about rice balls in Sicily is that you better call them in the proper way depending on which side of the island you are on: they’re arancin-A (or arancine, feminine plural) when in Palermo and arancin-O (or arancini, masculine plural) when in Catania!


Ingredients for 6 people for arancine (meat ragout and vegetarian versions):

  • 500 grams (2 and 1/3 cups) of Arborio rice
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1.5 Tbsp EVOO (Siliva uses her own high-quality Mandranova EVOO made with Biancolilla variety) 
  • Enough EVOO for deep frying
  • 1 glass (1 cup) of white wine 
  • saffron 1/4 tsp
  • 1liter (1/4 gallon) of vegetable or meat broth
  • 100 grams (1 cup) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano 
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) of unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs


Ingredients for vegetarian filling: 

  • Provolone or Mozzarella 150 grams (1/3 lb) coarsely chopped 
  • Boiled peas 250 grams (1/2 lb)


Ingredients for ragout filling:

  • 500 grams (1.1 lb) meat ragout
  • 150 grams (1/3 lb) coarsely chopped Provolone or Mozzarella 



  • Brown the onion in EVOO and remove from the pan
  • Lightly toast the rice over low heat with EVOO and salt. Once rice is translucent, add white wine and cook until almost evaporated, stirring continuously
  • Add the browned onions, the saffron and a small ladle full of broth. Turn up the heat, stir and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated
  • Continue to add broth until the rice is soft, but still has a little bite to it (also known as "al dente")
  • Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and butter and leave this mixture to cool in a large bowl or pan
  • Once cooled, prepare a little ball with the rice, make a big hole to insert the favorite filling, making sure that the rice has a minimum thickness (this is the secret!) and close the hole with more rice
  • Dip your stuffed ball in beaten eggs and cover with breadcrumbs
  • Deep fry in EVOO


Ingredients for ragout:

  • 1kg (2.2 lbs) minced pork 
  • Salt and pepper to your taste
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 small onion
  • 300 gr (2/3 lbs) boiled peas 
  • 2.5 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 glass (1 cup) of white wine
  • 1 Tbsp tomato sauce



  • Sauté meat and EVOO in a pan over medium heat. Then add the wine, stirring until it evaporates
  • Add chopped onions and tomato sauce and cook for about 30 minutes over low heat
  • Add peas at the end and adjust with salt and pepper to your taste


Buon appetito!




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