Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Rice balls or rice croquettes
( Arancini di riso )

Authentic Italian recipe of Sicily

Italian arancini or rice balls or rice croquettes is one of the most famous recipe from Sicily in the world. Rice hides a tasty and soft filling. Here's the traditional recipe according to the Sicilian cuisine. But I also suggest some variations if you don't find the original ingredients.

difficulty: medium

time: 1 h 25 minutes

calories: (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 6

  • 200g (7 ounces) minced beef
  • 2 cups "farsumagru" cooking juice
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) canestrato (matured Sicilian cheese)
  • 55g (2 ounces) grated Pecorino cheese (matured ewe's cheese)
  • 500g (1.1 pound) rice
  • 3 eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Plain dried breadcrumbs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lard
  • Salt
medium difficulty recipe
preparation: 40 minutes
cooking: 45 minutes
total: 1 h 25 minutes
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: n.c. (kcal) - n.c. (kJ)
Protein: n.c. (g)
Total fat: n.c. (g)
Total carbohydrate: n.c. (g)
Sugars: n.c. (g)

Download free PDF version (218 download).

Arancini or rice ball or rice croquette recipe

Preparation and cooking

  • - Let minced beef cook in the "farsumagru" cooking juice, about 20 minutes. Link to farsumagru recipe below.
  • - Meanwhile ...
    ... cook rice in salted water until "al dente" stage according to the instructions on the package.
    Cube canestrato (a matured Sicilian cheese).
    Drain rice very well and pour in a large bowl.
    Dress the rice with 2 beaten eggs and grated ewe's cheese (Pecorino cheese).
    Stir all the ingredients accurately.
    Let the rice cool.
  • - Assemble Sicilian arancini.
    Then take a handful of it, make a hollow in the center, stuff liberally with meat sauce and a cheese cube and close it up to make a spherical shape, the size of a tennis ball (or a little orange).
  • - Fry arancini.
    Beat remaining egg in a plate and prepare another plate with all-purpose flour and a third plate with plain dried breadcrumbs.
    Dip every rice ball into beaten egg, then into flour and finally into plain dried breadcrumbs.
    Let them fry lightly in a mixture of lard and extra virgin olive oil until golden.
    Take away from the frying pan and put them on absorbent kitchen paper to absorb the excess of fat.

Just before serving

  • - Serve them at once.
  • - But if you prepare them in advance, you have to warm them up at 230°C (450°F) for few minutes before serving them.



  • - I rarely use "farsumagru" cooking juice; I generally make another meat sauce. I put the following ingrdients in a pan:
    1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 200g (7 ounces) minced veal, 150g (5 1/3 ounces) puréed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon dried chives, a little young onion (finely chopped), 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon dried bay leaves, 1 200g (7 ounces) can drained peas, 150ml (5 fluid ounces - 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) red wine, a pinch of salt. I don't add water and cook over a low heat until well reduced.
  • - I often use cubed mozzarella cheese instead of canestrato.
  • - I fry rice croquettes only in extra virgin olive oil whitout lard.

Menu idea

  • - You can accompany this kind of rice croquettes with a seasonal salad or another side dish for a complete meal. You can prepare them for a buffet too.

Useful links for this recipe

Healthy eating

  • - It's very difficult to have the real amount of olive oil and lard used for frying and the amount of all-purpose flour and plain dried breadcrumbs. Another ingredient whose nutrition facts can vary a lot is farsumagru cooking juice. For all these reasons I couldn't calculate nutrition facts of the traditional recipe but I calculated nutrition facts of my version (low-fat version) without the ingredients for frying (plain dried breadcrumbs, white flour and olive oil). Then you have to add other 150 calories per 100g of fried food if you want to consider frying too.
    Energy: kcal 499 (kJ 2087)
    Protein: 24.5g
    Total fat: 15.2g
    Total carbohydrates: 70.3g
    Sugars: 2.7g


What's the right wine for " Rice balls or rice croquettes "?

My husband and I have the habit to match a typical Sicilian wine such as Etna Rosso (red wine) to arancini. When I plan a meal, buffet-style I prefer rosé wines or the bubbles of Prosecco :))