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Sicilian rice arancini with ragout

Recipe symbol of Sicilian cuisine

by Ada Parisi
5 min read
Arancini siciliani al ragù

Sicilian arancini or rice balls with meat sauce, traditional recipe: here's another one of the dishes symbol of Sicilian cuisine in the world, a ' street food’ It has definitely made a career. And while the world, or at least Sicilian wherever they live, arguing the name and sex (They are the arancini as we say in Messina and Catania or arancine, as they say in Palermo?) you can find the VIDEO RECIPE STEP BY STEP the arancini with meat sauce on my channel You Tube.

The variants of Sicilian rice arancini

Countless versions circulating in the island and not only, since the Sicilian arancini lend themselves to any personalization and interpretation: to try absolutely the version of the BUTTER RICE ARANCINI, with meat frayed or ham and béchamel. But even the MESSINA RICE ARANCINI, who have mortadella in the stuffing and gravy within the risotto. Without forgetting the PISTACHIO RICE ARANCINI, Symbol of Catania. Or the ones I've devilishly designed filled with MEATBALL SAUCE o al Gorgonzola AND WALNUTS. And yet the oranges can be customized in many ways. To the norm, with spinach and ricotta, with salmon, with mushrooms, pistachio and even sweet version WITH CHOCOLATE AND DRIED FRUIT.


The traditional recipe of arancini

In this recipe, however, I propose the 'Classic' Sicilian rice balls, with meat sauce, peas and cheese, but the recipe for rice that wraps the sweet tooth filling is of my family tradition: This is not a boiled rice seasoned with egg, How often do you use do in Sicily, but of a real Risotto with saffron well creamed with butter and grated cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano PDO or Caciocavallo Ragusano PDO if you love more intense flavours) that, Once the risotto is cold, will ben ' related’ and compact. This way when you will bite the arancine also parts without stuffing’ will be a pleasure. Seeing is believing.

I advise you to prepare both the risotto, both the meat sauce (Béchamel sauce if you want to put it) a day in advance and store everything in the refrigerator. Because the colder the ingredients, the easier it is to assemble the arancine.

The breading of arancini: In the family, we have always breaded arancine in flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs. They are crispy and never open when frying. Alternatively, You can avoid the egg by making a batter of water and flour and then dipping the arancini in breadcrumbs. I don't like the result, Maybe it's because I've always been used to breading with egg. The choice is yours. Have a good day.

Arancini siciliani al ragù

ARANCINI SICILIANI SAUCE ' (doses for about 10 arancini)

Portions: 10 Preparation: cooking:
Nutrition facts: 250 calories 20 fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 2 voted )



120 grams of ground beef

120 grams of minced veal

120 grams of minced pork

half carrot

half an onion

a stalk of celery

two tablespoons of tomato paste

350 ml of tomato puree

extra virgin olive oil

a clove

a bay leaf

salt and pepper

200 ml of red wine


100 grams peas already boiled in salted water

150 grams of soft scamorza cheese, unseasoned caciocavallo ragusano PDO or provola dei Nebrodi

250 grams of very dense béchamel (Optional, If you want to put it on, follow This recipe)


500 grams of Carnaroli rice

extra virgin olive oil

Middle spring onion or a small shallot

two packets of Saffron

80 grams of grated Parmigiano Reggiano PDO or aged aged Caciocavallo Ragusano PDO

60 grams of butter





2 egg whites and 1 whole egg


peanut oil for frying


For the Sicilian arancini with meat sauce, start by looking at the VIDEO RECIPE. I advise you to prepare the meat sauce the day before: the sauce should be very restricted. Finely chop carrot, onion and celery and let them wither in a pan with extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes. Combine in small doses the minced meat, browning it well before adding more. When all the meat is in the Pan, Add the tomato paste and wine and let evaporate the alcohol part over high heat. Finally, combine the tomato puree, The cloves, laurel; Add salt and cook over a low heat and covered for at least two hours. From time to time taste to see if you need to fix some more salt.

For the risotto Proceed as for a normal risotto but keeping it very al dente: chop the onion and let it wither in a saucepan with the oil, then add the rice and toast it and slowly join the already hot water (in this case we do not use the broth to prevent the flavor of the risotto from imbalance that of the arancino as a whole). The risotto should be al dente and you have to cook it at least 5 minutes less than normal, by adding at the end the Saffron dissolved in a little hot water. Stir vigorously with butter and grated cheese. Spread the rice on a platter or a tray in a thin layer and let it cool down for at least 3 hours, but also all night keeping it in the refrigerator.

To dial arancini take a handful of rice and, holding it in the Palm of your hand, obtain a flat 'conca' about one centimeter thick. Put a tablespoon of sauce, a little béchamel sauce if you want to put it, some peas and some small chunks of cheese. Then take another portion of rice and place it on top of the filling, going to crush the arancino with your hands until you form a ball the size of a tennis ball, adding a little risotto if necessary so you don't let the filling out. It seems hard but it isn't, because your ingredients are cold and therefore 'tied'.

Breading. Prepare three dishes: one with flour, one with the two egg whites and the whole egg well beaten and slightly salty and one with the bread grated. Carefully navigate your arancini (well and without leaving 'holes') first in flour, then in the beaten egg and finally in the grated bread. Place them on a cutting board sprinkled with breadcrumbs and let rest in refrigerator or fry them immediately. If you leave them in the refrigerator, pass them again in bread crumbs before frying.

The fry. Finally, Fry the Sicilian arancini with meat sauce in peanut or high oleic sunflower oil: frying must be done with care to fire not too high, because even though it's already all 'cooked', the heat must be able to melt the cheese inside but not strong enough to darken the outer crust too much. Consider a cooking time of about 6-8 minutes to arancina. Bon appétit!


MATCHING: with this classic Sicilian street food we recommend a double beer fermentation, produced by the brewery Sicilian fortress of the counts. The Tarì Gold is a pale Lager pilsner type, with abundant foam, aromas of fresh hops and bitter taste and dry.

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Marianna 9 January 2019 - 16:25

Hi Ada,
arancini are always welcome at the table for a quick meal on the street. When I prepare them at home sometimes I replace the saffron with turmeric. The taste is not affected much and by doing so we ensure a good dose of antioxidants allies to our health :-).
I wish you a good day

Silvia Poller 17 September 2018 - 06:43

Good morning Ada, Silvia Polleri are in charge of the cooperative abc wisdom to the table that makes 14 years Katherine with inmates of the prison Bollate. In 2015 I opened the InGalera restaurant inside the same prison, run with the inmates daily to accommodate customers who come from outside society. 14 years of intense activity in the objective to reduce recidivism of prisoners, and we succeed!
Last night, looking traditional Sicilian dishes, in particular arancini messinesi, I discovered you but the nicest aspect of this meeting is because I was looking for you to organize a buffet to our prison director who will go elsewhere, You and Messina, If you want exactly named with your surname! Congratulations for your site, I'd love to have you if passing through Milan, at our restaurant along with your husband.
If you want something more of our history, two sites: catering abc, ingalera.it
Thank you again for what you do and above all write, We expect good fortune to have met you! Silvia Poller (also called grandmother galeotta) I forgot: Obviously our Massimo Parisi Director'll arancini!

Ada Parisi 19 September 2018 - 11:51

Hello Silvia, I know very well the reality of Bollate. Whether because I lived for 10 years in Milan, and because my partner Gianluca Atzeni has shot a great video inside the prison for the Catholic University of Milan (we are both professional journalists). I'm glad you like my site (a warm greeting to the director of Messina my namesake) and I await news of arancini. I promise I will just step from Milan make myself alive, I would love to write an article on this site about the restaurant and what is the perspective of a non-punitive rehabilitation. For any need you can refer to my mail, to find the contact entry. A warm greeting, ADA.

Corrado 29 July 2017 - 19:15

Hi Ada,
very soon I'll tackle in making arancini. I believe that it is almost impossible (at least in Messina) find a Brasserie that equips them with a sufficiently high quality raw media. For a while now’ by the time I'm comparing different recipes and different schools of thought.
I ran several times in one type of cooking rice other than the risotto which, in broad terms, is to sauté the onion with the addition of vegetable broth (the nut is almost always recommended, detestable in my view) with spices (applicants Laurel, Saffron and pepper), salt and water. There are those who adds butter and who doesn't and who paints the rice with some ladle of sauce or tomato sauce (option that potentially would prefer and I often find myself in the arancini Messina). This liquid mass is prepared in a pot and brought to a boil. At this point it should be added the rice into 1 report:2-2,5 (I mean type 1 Kg of rice to 2-2,5 L “water”) letting it cook not stirring, until total absorption of the liquid.
As rice recommended I often found the Rome.
About the batter: many do not use the egg but just water, salt and flour.
What are the pros and cons, in your opinion, of these variants?

Ada Parisi 29 July 2017 - 19:53

Hi Corrado, Meanwhile, thanks for getting me to something as important as are the Arancine in Sicily. Then, I saw that you've worked hard in the search for the perfect recipe. I'll tell you. The worst problem of arancine found around, they are poor on average as you've already noticed, is the cooking rice, that normally is overcooked or even a shapeless mush. For me it is something unbearable. My grandmother, Palermo, He taught me that the rice should be al dente. My recipe is to my grandmother and my great-grandmother. I prepare then risotto because it is the only way of controlling the rice cooking at 100%. This doesn't mean that you can't add to the risotto a ladle of sauce so you have that feature red which do you prefer. Only with a risotto you can control the amount of stock in relation to cooking rice. As for the batter, I tried it because I noticed that many use it. Here too, I find that you lose some’ the crunchiness of arancino well done, I also find a greater quantity of grease in the Breading. I understand if there is an allergy to eggs, But if it has in my opinion the traditional Breading is better and also guarantees greater stability of arancino in frying. Yet, believe me when I tell you that rice or eat rice Carnaroli or Sage. I don't presume to tell you to follow my recipe, but I'll tell you that I made these arancini for 70 people at a restaurant in power and for 100 people in Rome and they all asked me the compliments. Let me know what you decide, Maybe you can try first one and then the other. Indeed, If you decide to make the comparison even more I'd like to have your opinion. ADA

Corrado 29 July 2017 - 21:13

Meanwhile, thank you so much for your reply. I agree with you on the poltigliositá of the standard rice arancini, definitely avoid. I wanted to bring these questions because I believed that the use of the risotto was quite a nobler Variant, little akin to method “traditional”. I am not a traditionalist tout court, Indeed. I think you have to always refute the cliché and make things more and more good! Probably in the realities of mass Rotisserie Cook rice so it's a tradeoff sullen and then an offset from the actual optimum cooking method. I think, in my small, I'll make a first try following your advice. See you soon!

Ada Parisi 29 July 2017 - 22:10

Hi Corrado, my recipe is my great grandmother from Palermo and. It is true that my grandmother's family was a family of Palermo well, but I think this is just the correct version of what then the takeaways have simplified. In addition, clearly use a rice Rome or Carnaroli rice makes huge differences within the price, and clearly it is easier to reduce to a mush that not one rice ball risotto al dente. For all these reasons I think the average is now immeasurably low in takeaways. Wanting to try a light orange well done try my recipe, If you want red manteca as well with a little’ of meat sauce. Put just a little’ attention in the stuff good arancini, Why do they have to be well seasoned. Now put some’ of meat sauce in risotto certainly already helps.

Valeria October 9, 2014 - 14:58

Hello dear.. I'll definitely try them tomorrow.. I returned recently from Sicily. with lots of chocolate of modica in tow…
I'll try.. your explanations are as always very clear and that is important… Maybe I won't like those yummy I ate in Ragusa.. but I'll do my best..
Hello.. Valeria

Sicilians creative in the kitchen October 9, 2014 - 15:17

Hi Valeria, I'm sure you will be perfectly and certainly much better than those you buy even in Sicily. Nothing is like a dish prepared at home and for few people. Let me know! ADA

Christian June 4, 2013 - 17:05

I love oranges but some of my friends tell me they are not round but Sicilian pear shaped … I confirm that I have seen them in movies of Montalbano (prepared by Adelina!)

Sicilians creative in the kitchen June 4, 2013 - 17:08

Hi Christian, the Sicilian arancini are traditionally and ragout PEAR round when I when are black all over Sicily, but now they are also elongated or even triangulate. A little’ to differentiate them, Since there are many fillings (from us in Messina I counted 22 different types). I rounds for just a matter of personal taste: the ' pear’ It's just rice, and I like the stuffing, that in these rounds is better distributed. Greetings!

Maurizio September 16, 2014 - 12:46

First of all, congratulations on the blog and enthusiasm in tackling the recipes and comments. I signed up for; is really quite addictive for the spirit of sympathy that transmits. I only have a very small just to do. Pear shape (or conical) the arancine (use it on purpose the feminine) It is not in use in Sicily. In Palermo for instance the arancina traditionally, with any stuffing, spherical in shape (or round) slightly elongated and pear shaped (or conical).
Regarding the use of the female or male I refrain deliberately because the matter for the Sicilians is very difficult and the bearer of irremediable divisions. :-))
Salutoni siciliani.

Sicilians creative in the kitchen September 17, 2014 - 12:07

Hello Maurizio, Thanks for the comments. I agree with you: better to refrain from discussion of the female/male. too many distinctions is worth’ on this issue.

Sonia April 11, 2013 - 17:47

Thank goodness I'm reading in the late afternoon, I made the sauce and you would have to tie me to prevent me from doing the arancine whom I adore! yours are too beautiful :-)

fratelli_ai_fornelli April 11, 2013 - 17:50

Well Sonia!!! You still have time to make them… Go quickly to prepare the risotto!!!!

Not Only Sugar April 11, 2013 - 12:22

Oh my goodness.. diving at me directly in the memories of Sicily and of my trip this summer…

Not Only Sugar

fratelli_ai_fornelli April 11, 2013 - 12:55

Thank you all!!! Special thanks to Sandra (run to see). I am very happy that, In addition to my foreign friends (Thanks for your appreciating Sushmita and Kenneth!!), the accolades are also from people by origin or for information arancini have already eaten in Sicily or made by Sicilians!!! An affectionate greetings to all!!!

Sandra April 11, 2013 - 11:46

Hello, I discovered, linked and rewarded in this post:
I hope you will please ... Sandra

Simona April 11, 2013 - 11:27

I want it too! Mizzica! >.<

Sushmita April 11, 2013 - 10:54

Nice Recipe :-)

Elena April 11, 2013 - 10:36

aaaahhh!!Thanks Ada ... finally came the arancini!!This weekend I will have them ... We hope to be perfect as your ... I'll let you know. latest facts.!!

Kenneth Kapasi April 11, 2013 - 10:04

Going to try this dish for sure .Keep up the good work.

Adele April 11, 2013 - 09:28

Perfect and you are fantastic !!!

conunpocodizucchero.it April 11, 2013 - 07:05

My husband says: perfect!!! If he says so… ;-) they're adorable and great! from this we can see already!!!!


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