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Arancini (Sicilian Stuffed Rice Balls)

A web-exclusive recipe from Italian Cooking and Living

For the risotto:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 cup Arborio rice

  • 5 cups chicken broth, hot

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

    For the ragł and filling:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped

  • 1/2 pound ground lamb

  • 1/2 cup Nero D’Avola

  • 1 cup canned whole, peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped

  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • salt

  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 small cubes

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • olive oil for frying

    To cook the rice: In a heavy-bottomed pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and stir until translucent. Add rice and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Add hot broth 1 cup at a time, stirring until each cup is fully absorbed. When rice is al dente, remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmigiano. Spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

    To make the ragł: In a skillet, heat extra-virgin olive oil. Add onion and lamb; stir until meat is cooked through and onion is translucent. Deglaze with wine. Add tomatoes and peas; cook until ragł reaches a dense texture. Add salt to taste.

    To make the rice balls: With wet hands, form 16 balls of risotto. Poke a hole in each ball with your thumb and make a little space inside. Fill each one with a spoonful of ragł and a chunk of mozzarella. Seal the opening with another dollop of risotto. Roll each ball in beaten egg and breadcrumbs seasoned with salt and pepper. Warm olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Deep-fry in batches until golden-brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately. Makes 16

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