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« Pierre Herme's Nutella Tart. | Main | Bulgur: it's not the looks that count. »

May 23, 2004



Oh. My. God. Picture me, sitting here, still full from dinner, yet, drooling over this entry. Those sound so delicious, Alberto! And, as my mom would say, there is nothing that cannot be improved, even slightly by frying it. This is a dish I would love to attempt, complicated though it sounds.


What a lovely reminder of a great vacation! Ever since I tasted my first arancine in Sicily last May I was determined to make them, but haven't so far. Your recipe sounds and looks great, I'll definitely try this. Thanks!

Meg in Paris

What a fascinating recipe! It sounds delicious, too...thanks!


Alberto, those look delicious. I was very close to making them myself. I never heard of cone-shaped ones (are they still called arancini, or Italian for "little traffic cones"?).


What a wonderful, unusual and sensuous dish! I'm tempted to try it, but I have to first get over the idea of using risotto in this extravagant way. I will let you know when I am courageous enough to turn precious saffron risotto into balls and send them to a deep-fry!

Donna in Harrisburg

Wow... that's it... wow! Definitely need to add this to my repertoire. Wow!


Alberto these look fabulous, you cooked one of my all-time favorite foods! I have made these a few times, once with some success but felt the recipe could use tweaking so the next time I made them I used a different recipe and they were not really that great. Your recipe looks terrific, and you make them just like how I love to eat them, with carne and piselli, I will be using your recipe next time around. Thanks!


wow, Alberto, these look fabulous! if I wasn't so intimidated with the idea of cooking risotto, I would make this in a jiffy.
simply love the idea of rice balls with meat, sauce and cheese filling! wow!
in the old days (before my time at least ; ) ), in South East Asia, chicken rice balls were very commonly sold from street stalls... a ball of compacted chicken rice and I'm told it was delicious... people still reminesce about those good ol' days and those good ol' chicken rice balls... now, in our more "civilised" age, we unfortunately only eat chicken rice from a plate : (


Jennifer, thanks. Is your mom Scottish BTW ;-)? A Scottish friend told me exactly the same thing when I was in the UK, but I still don't have the guts to eat fried mars bars :-))).

Dana, I fell in love with arancine in Sicily too (actually with Sicilain cooking in general): I perfectly know what you mean. In Naples, where I come from, arancine are quite common but never manage to taste as good as the Sicilian ones. Good luck with trying them out.

Meg: Thank you!

Josh, :-) no, the cone shaped ones are still called arancine. You sometimes find different shapes to distinguish different fillings: for example cone ones with sugo filling and round ones with ham and bechamel filling.

Theresa, thanks for the comments. I never thought of saffron risotto as something precious. Maybe we Italians take too many things for granted.

Donna, you're making me blush :-). Thanks for the compliments

Deb thanks: happy you liked them. Since you like them so much I'm sorry I can't come around and offer you one. I guess fed-exing them would take a bit too long ;-). If you try the recipe out let me know what you think.


Renee thank you. Risotto is not that difficult. What is really important is to have: 1) patience, 2) a good stock to add to the rice, 3) a heavy bottomed pot and most important 4) someone to talk to while you stir the rice :-).

You wouldn't happen to have a recipe for those chicken rice balls? the sound incredibly appetising.


Alberto, I am mighty impressed by your skills, your arancine look so wonderful and picture-perfect! I've only had arancine once, in a small deli close to our house where they make all sorts of dishes from all over the world. They were delicious, but the guy couldn't explain to me why they were called "arancine" and I was pretty puzzled. Now I know!


Wow, this is so adorable. I've never seen it before. I just have to give it a try soon.



clotilde, thanks! happy to clear the "arancine" name mystery for you

Pim thank you and let me know if you try them.


i have wanted to make these for ages, but didn't really know how. next time i make a saffron risotto i shall be sure to make extra just so i can make arancini!


Kitschenette, you can use a simple white (parmesan) risotto too. Some Sicilians would not use saffron in their arancine ever.


hi Alberto,
so sorry for the late reply : )

I've never made the chicken rice balls myself, but would think that it is standard chicken rice shaped and compacted into ball-shapes.
for a simple, basic chicken rice, saute a little minced garlic and ginger (can be minced or if don't really like garlic, have them in slices, and remove the slices after the rice has been cooked) in tiny bit of hot oil. add Thai jasmine rice and saute until rice well coated.
add good simple chicken stock (i.e. just made from chicken meat/bones and water) and cook the rice.
the traditional (& authentic?) way would be to also add chunks of chicken fat together with the stock for added fragrance.
then I would guess... just let cool a little and shape into balls, and serve with thick dark soy sauce, or chicken gravy.
probably the rice can't be too dry (or too mushy for that matter) for the balls to hold together.

hope that made sense
: )

oh btw, was meaning to mention this previously... are those hands in the pictures yours?
nice long tapered fingers... the fingers (and hands) of a chef ; )


Renee thanks both for the recipe and the comment about the hands (that really got me blushing ;-)). I might try the recipe soon: Saami tried some basic chicken rice tonight and loved it, but eating was quite messy :-). I guess he'd locve the chicken rice balls too, and maybe they'd be easier for him to eat, especially without the sauce.


As a real Sicilian and a chef I have never seen the sauce added in with the peas and meat. We mix a little sauce into the rice before it cools off and use plain ol' long grain rice so it get gummy and sticky and helps the ball stay together as it is frying. There is an alternate name for the arincini and it is file di telefono. Which means telephone wires. this is derives fro the way the arincini are eaten. Your take a ball in your hand and break it apart and eat half at a time. When you seperate the halves and pull them apart the mozzarella makes strings and they droop a little as do the wires that stretch from one pole to the next. We also make really small ones (which is more work) and use them as finger food appetizers. Ciao Al


al, which part of Sicily do you come from? I've had arancini both with sauce mixed to the rice and used as I've done in Sicily, so maybe this could be a local difference, one of the great things that makes Italian cuisine so unique.

The fili del telefono thing is interesting: in Rome the local version of arancini is called suppli' al telefono exactly for the same reason. Thanks for the story.

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