Arancini are one of the Sicily's top dishes par excellence.
Whether you've tried a classic arancini recipe or one of their many gourmet chef versions, inevitably, the response from expectant tasters is almost always the same, «It's not like eating them in Sicily».
Certainly, it can not be like biting into an authentic hot rice ball gazing into a beautiful sunset on the major Mediterranean island, but if you're bold and up for a challenge, why have a go at preparing your own authentic Sicilian arancini at home?
We asked Tommaso Cannata, the master baker from Messina in Sicily who recently opened Cannata Sicilian bakery in Milan, to share his top tips.
Here are his five tips to making excellent Sicilian arancini.
SICILIAN ARANCINI | TIPS FROM TOMMASO CANNATA
The Choice of Rice
Usually Arborio rice, Carnaroli or Roma are used to prepare arancini because they have small starchy grains. It's important to double check the rice's provenance: use Italian rice, preferably Sicilian.
Drain the rice when it begins to release its starch during cooking so that it doesn't become sticky. It obviously depends on the type of rice used, but usually, it shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes to cook from the moment it starts to boil.
The ingredients to make real arancino are: a classic sauté with celery, carrot and onion, to which tomato and quality ground beef are added. Cook the ragu for more than three hours to get the right intensity of flavor.
It's all about the Batter
It serves as a glue during frying and evenly separates the rice from the outer breading. Both the flour for the batter and the breadcrumbs must be made with ancient Sicilian grains. This gives greater crunchiness and a more intense flavour and color.
Preferably peanut oil or alternatively sunflower oil should be used.
Dal is one of those recipes that goes all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike dishes such as biryani, brought to India by the Moghuls, it is one of those foods that has always been there. It is therefore a building block of Indian culture.