These arancini balls are deliciously golden and crispy, filled with a beef and creamy mozzarella centre. This filling is more classic in comparison to our butternut squash and fontina arancini balls, where our meat ‘ragu’ option is one of the best-loved Sicilian snacks and street food across Italy and the world!
The rice is flavoured with saffron in which the balls are then rolled in breadcrumbs before frying them gently in oil. They are traditionally made with caciocavallo cheese, however as this is difficult to source outside of Southern Italy, we use parmesan cheese to give a fruity and nutty taste to the recipe.
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a saucepan, toasting the saffron and stirring it with a wooden spoon so that it does not burn.
- Add the rice and sauté it for a few minutes, add the broth and Maldon Salt and cook for 10 minutes over a high heat without a lid. Lower the heat, then cook for 5 minutes more.
- Cover the saucepan, turn off the heat, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, add 1 tbsp of butter and parmesan cheese, mix and pour over a bowl. Spread it out well with a spatula, cover it with film and leave to cool at room temperature.
- Heat the rest of the butter in a pan, sauté the meat over a high heat for 5 minutes, add the white wine and tomato paste, lower the heat, and cook for 15 minutes with a lid. Chop the mozzarella. When the meat is cold, mix it with the mozzarella.
- Once the rice has cooled, divide it into 8 portions. Cut a piece of cling film and place it over one hand. Spread a portion of rice over the film and compact it into a ball shape.
- Sink your thumb in the centre of the rice ball to make room and add a tablespoon of the filling. Shape the rice back into a ball or cone shape.
- Whisk the water with the flour in a bowl until smooth. Put the breadcrumbs on a deep plate, and heat abundant oil in a small frying pan or on a ladle.
- First, dip each arancino in the bowl with the batter. Drain it a little and roll it through the breadcrumbs until it is completely covered. Fry the arancini two at a time until they are golden. Remove them from the heat with a skimmer and leave them to drain on the tray with absorbent kitchen roll. If you are going to serve them hot, put them to one side in an oven preheated to 60ºC while the others are frying. Sprinkle with a pinch of Maldon Salt to finish.
Can you choose different arancini fillings?
A classic arancini is made up using meat, cheese and peas, however there are many filling variations to choose from!
Arancini al pistachio is a very traditionally-loved across Italy, where the rice balls are stuffed with a beautiful pistachio béchamel sauce. The pistachios are usually grown near Mount Etna, where this variety is considered to be made from.
Continuing with the theme of vegetarian-friendly options, you could also try our butternut squash and fontina arancini balls. The butternut squash gives a beautiful, nutty and earthy feel to the rice balls, with the addition of fontina cheese to give a gentle sweetness.
If you are a big cheese lover, why not try a Neapolitan Arancini, where the only filling consists of cheese! You only need arborio rice and pecorino cheese, which is a hard cheese perfect for grating!
Do you have a sweet tooth? Well Arancini con cioccolato are traditional italian rice balls filled with chocolate sauce! The filling is usually dark chocolate, vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon.
How to store arancini?
You can keep arancini balls in the fridge for up to 5 days. When you are wanting to consume, please reheat in an oven at 400F/200c for 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow the outer to become crispy again and the centre to become beautifully creamy and melty. You can eat them cold if you like them that way, but we can’t guarantee a showstopping cheese-pull from this!
If you are wanting to freeze these, they can be stored in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Make sure to freeze them on a baking sheet. When you are wanting to bake from frozen, place them in the oven at 400F/200c for around 15 to 20 minutes.