Rice Balls  



Arancine 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
(To be prepared a day ahead) 


·4 tbsp. olive oil 

·1 medium onion, diced 

·1 lb chopped meat 

·3 full tbsp. tomato paste 

·¼ cup of white wine 

·10 basil leaves, chopped 

·5 oz frozen peas, boiled in salted water for 5 minutes 

·¼ lb diced or grated Caciocavallo or your preferred cheese (optional) 

·Salt and pepper 

Over a medium flame, heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan. 

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 taste. 

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 minutes. 

Adjust for salt, transfer into a bowl and stir in cheese (optional).

Cool off and refrigerate. 

Part Two – Rice 


·2 lb Arborio rice, rinsed 

·½ cup olive oil 

·1 medium onion, finely chopped 

·2 full tbsp. tomato paste 

·3 ½ quarts of water 

·2 eggs 

·1 oz salt (1 ½ tbsp.) 

·Pepper to taste 

·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 and parsley.
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 arancine). 



preparazione arancinepreparazione arancine n2


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 above instructions. 


Part Four – Frying the rice balls 

You will need: 

·A wide container with 3-4 lb of sifted fine Italian breadcrumbs 

·3 eggs 

·½ glass milk 

·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. 

Taking a rice ball at a time, remove from egg mixture and reshape slightly, if necessary. 

Then place in the container with the breadcrumbs.

Squeeze the breadcrumbs into the rice ball and continue rolling it in your hands, compacting continuously and shaping the ball. 

Set the breaded rice ball into a pan or dish. Once all rice balls have been battered and breaded, move them on to the fryer. 





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. 


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