Arancini-rice croquet

Rice, introduced into Sicily by the Arabs, is the main ingredient of this incredibly savoury speciality currently known all over the world. The original version hails from Palermo, with the addition of meat sauce, but there are various local versions. For example, saffron is not always used and the rice can either be left white or mixed with a bit of sauce that is also used for the filling. Among the various recipes there is also the one listed by Andrea Camilleri in one of his most famous novels, the title of which (“Gli Arancini di Montalbano”) is a tribute to Sicily’s most popular street food.


Per gli arancini:
  • 500 g rice
  • 150 g breadcrumbs
  • 5 eggs
  • flour
  • 60 g grated “caciocavallo” cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chopped parsley
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 packet of saffron
For the filling::
  • 20 g ground veal made into a "ragù" meat sauce
  • 100 g boiled peas, briefly sautéed with onion in hot oil
  • 100 g "tuma" cheese cut into small cubes
  • 60 g grated “caciocavallo” cheese
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil


Dissolve a packet of saffron into a litre and a half of salted water, bring to a boil, pour in the rice and cook over a moderate flame for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from the flame and add two beaten eggs, the butter and caciocavallo cheese. While the rice cools prepare the filling: mix the ground meat with a portion of the ragù, then add the peas, the tuma cheese and a portion of the caciocavallo. Once the rice is cooled scoop up a fist full of rice into your dampened hand, put a spoonful of filling on top and close the other part with rice. Close up the croquet using two hands and adjust the top to form the typical cone shape of the arancini with sauce. Roll in the flour, in the beaten egg and then in the bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Fry the croquets in boiling oil, drain and serve hot.