Sicilian Vegetarian Arancini

It was back in August 2014, when my bf booked us a surprise trip to San Vito lo Capo, the South-Eastern point of Sicily. The town itself was a tiny sea resort, with an average long sand beach with shallow, murky water. The concentration of people made it difficult to move and even to observe the beach ahead. One of those places that stay busy from dawn to dusk during the summer time, a real rabbit-warren. Sunburnt holiday-makers tried local specialties from tourist traps and bought limoncello and fridge magnets.

Every day we made our small escape. First, we went to a small, homely bread shop across the road to buy ourselves a simple lunch. The place did not look particularly appealing; tiny and quite shabby, it was though popular among locals. The line was so long that it started several meters away from the entrance. It was unbearably hot inside, so instead of the door, the shop had bead curtain. The selection was modest; customers could choose between different loaves of bread and panini. We were coming here for the Sicilian signature dish – arancini (c pronounced as ch). Arancini are rice balls with different fillings, most typical being ragu. But, yet quite wide-spread is the vegetarian version with cheese, tomatoes, and peas – a natural choice for us. 

Then we would head to the national reserve of Zingaro. After a long curving drive and an hour of walking under the sweltering Sicilian sun, we were at one of the most picturesque places on earth.  There we would spend the whole day, lying on the beach, swimming in the azure water, the cleanest I’ve ever seen, and eating our scrumptious arancini. That’s why the Sicilian riceballs will always taste of summer for me. 

Arancini

Arancini Arancini

Ingredients

For: 4 people
Preparation:
30 min
Cooking:
30 min
Ready in:
1 h

Instructions

  1. Cook rice in salty water for 10 minutes, or until ready. Mix it with a wooden spoon - the rice should be quite sticky. NB: never wash rice for risotto before cooking, it will loose its stickiness
  2. Add butter and grated parmesan to rice, mix until butter melts. Crack two eggs, add peas and mix one more time.
  3. Cut tomatoes and mozzarella in cubes.
  4. Crack two eggs in a deep dish and whisk them. In a shallow dish put breadcrumbs
  5. Take a handful of rice and spread it over your palm in an even, quite thin layer. Put several cubes of tomato and mozzarella inside. After curl up your fingers, pressing rice around the filling to enclose. Add some extra rice and press with both hands to form even balls.
  6. Dip arancini into eggs, and then roll in breadcrumbs. After place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake on 200C (400F) for 30 minutes.

Notes

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