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Arancini, Addictive Sicilian Fast Food #FoodieReads


The Villa in Sicily by Elise Darcy recently came up on my Kindle as a suggestion and that dangerous one-click-to-purchase did me in. But I'm so glad I did though as I enjoyed this book. It wasn't particularly deep or thought-provoking, but it was set on Sicily and had a cast of interesting characters. And that pretty much means I will love it!

Josie's mom has recently passed away and she discovers - in a locked drawer in her mom's office - a journal and a plane ticket to Sicily. Josie decides to take that trip and try to figure out more about the two sisters in the journal.

The book has lots and twists and turns, unexpected - and some expected - romantic capers. there is even a Mafia sub-plot that isn't too frightening. It's a fun afternoon diversion. And, with any book set in Italy, food is abundant.

When one of my favorite Italian street foods is mentioned, I couldn't help but make a batch. Josie "found a street vendor a little way along the seafront and bought an arancini; the Sicilian snack looked rather like a large scotch egg but was made of stuffed rice with different fillings such as cheese or spinach. Josie bought one with spinach. Coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, it looked delicious" (pg. 165).

She "placed an order for iced coffee and an arancini. Sicilian fast food was addictive. She’d enjoyed the spinach one she’d eaten yesterday on the beach in Cefalù but decided to try something different this time. She ordered a cheese arancini, hoping she’d like the combination of rice and cheese" (pg. 214).

Arancini means "little oranges", referring to their shape and appearance versus any ingredients. They are a simple and great way to use up leftovers. I had some Risotto all'Amarone in the fridge that was perfect for this recipe. Next time you whip up a batch of risotto, save a serving for arancini!

Ingredients makes 12


  • 4 to 5 cups leftover risotto, chilled
  • 12 ciliegie (fresh mozzarella is traditional) 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, or traditional breadcrumbs
  • Also needed: baking sheet, parchment paper or silicone mat
  • 2 cups passata di pomodoro or tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 to 4 cloves, peeled and minced 
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Take a handful of cold risotto and flatten slightly. Press one cheese cube into the center. Cover the cheese with more rice and roll into a ball form. Dip the ball into flour, shaking lightly to remove any clumps.

Coat the ball with beaten eggs and, finally, roll the ball in the bread crumbs. Place the coated ball onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining risotto until all of the risotto has been used.

Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until golden brown and crisp to the touch. While they are baking, make the sauce.

Place the passata di pomodoro, basil, oregano, and garlic in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce till slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon some sauce onto a plate. Place the arancini on the sauce and serve immediately.

I made a dinner out of the arancini by adding calamari fritti, a green salad, and a beautiful bottle of wine from Etna. Cin cin.

I am adding this to the September #FoodieReads link-up.


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