is derived from
the Italian for “orange,” or arancia. This recipe will create approximately 18 to 20 visually and gastronomically
appealing rice balls, or 50 miniature rice balls. Making this delicacy requires a preparation that seems
complicated, but by organizing, arranging and coordinating your efforts effectively, you will transform this
elaborate recipe into a simple task.
Part One – Stuffing
prepared a day ahead)
·4 tbsp. olive
·1 medium onion,
·1 lb chopped
·3 full tbsp. tomato
·¼ cup of white
·10 basil leaves,
·5 oz frozen peas, boiled
in salted water for 5 minutes
·¼ lb diced or grated
Caciocavallo or your preferred cheese (optional)
Over a medium flame, heat the oil in a 3-quart
Add diced onions and sauté until light golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add chopped meat, stirring
continuously with a wooden spoon.
Add wine and reduce, about 3 minutes. Dilute tomato paste with one cup of water, stir it into
the meat, add additional water to cover chopped meat; add basil and salt and pepper to
Sauce should be a little watery.
Bring to a boil and cook at high heat for 2 minutes. Lower heat and simmer for 45
minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add boiled peas and cook sauce for an additional 15
Adjust for salt, transfer into a bowl and stir in cheese (optional).
Cool off and
Part Two –
lb Arborio rice, rinsed
cup olive oil
·1 medium onion, finely
·2 full tbsp. tomato
·3 ½ quarts of
·1 oz salt (1 ½
·Small bunch of chopped parsley
Over a medium flame, heat olive oil in an 8-quart stockpot.
Add the chopped onions and sauté until light golden, about 7 minutes. Add tomato
paste, and a little at a time, add one quart of water. After a few minutes, add the remaining water, salt, pepper
Boil for about ½ hour. Remove 2 cups of liquid and set aside. Stir the rice into the
remaining boiling liquid and cook over medium heat.
Beat the eggs, adding in some of the reserved liquid.
Pour the egg mixture into the rice and continue stirring, simmering it for about 15
minutes or until al dente; taste to check salt.
If necessary, add some of the reserved liquid. Rice should have the consistency of a risotto,
and if the reserved liquid is not enough, add some hot water.
Place cooked rice in a large, wide pan to cool, turning occasionally.
Part Three –
Forming the rice balls
Work and compact the rice with your hands into a mass. If is too dry, add either
the reserved water or plain water until smooth and moist but not too watery.
Wet hands with oil and shape some rice into a ball, the size of a small orange (hence the name
Make a hole with your finger and fill it with a teaspoon of the stuffing. Use half of a teaspoon
if making miniature rice balls.
Add a small amount of rice to cover the hole and smooth the rice ball until round. If it is too
small, add some rice. If it is too large, remove a pinch of rice and reshape. Repeat until it is a smooth sphere of
the desired size.
Place the rice
balls in an oiled pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
To make miniature rice
balls uniform in size, you can use a 3-ounce ice cream scoop,
and make rice ball as per
Part Four –
Frying the rice balls
·A wide container with 3-4
lb of sifted fine Italian breadcrumbs
·Deep fryer @ 375 degrees
(preferably peanut oil)
Place milk and eggs in a wide bowl and beat until smooth.
A few at
a time, place the rice balls into the egg mixture.
rice ball at a time, remove from egg mixture and reshape slightly, if necessary.
place in the container with the breadcrumbs.
the breadcrumbs into the rice ball and continue rolling it in your hands, compacting continuously and shaping
breaded rice ball into a pan or dish. Once all rice balls have been battered and breaded, move them on to the
Deep-fry until golden, and let rest on paper towels.
It is advisable to warm the rice balls in a 325-degree oven for a few minutes before serving to
allow the stuffing to get warm.
Palermitana Rice Balls Catanesi Pyramid