arancini al burro
Arancini al Burro
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
Arancini al burro are Sicilian rice balls, stuffed with ham and cheese, which are coated with a light crispy batter, then deep fried.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Servings: 20 arancini
Author: Mike Benayoun
For the rice
  • cups risotto rice (short or medium grain, like Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon saffron , diluted in 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
For the stuffing
  • Bechamel sauce (see recipe below)
  • 3 oz. ham , diced
  • 3 oz. cheese (mozzarella, scamorza or provolone), diced or shredded
For the Bechamel sauce
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt
For the coating
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • cup breadcrumbs
For frying
  • Vegetable oil
  1. In a pot over medium heat, toast the rice with the butter for 2 minutes while stirring.
  2. Start adding one ladle of broth and the saffron, and stir.
  3. Continue cooking the rice over medium heat for at least 20 minutes, while stirring and adding one ladle of broth at a time, until the rice is al dente.

  4. Let rice cool to room temperature.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Bechamel Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until foaming.
  2. Stir in the flour to form a paste.
  3. Lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the milk until smooth, and add a pinch of nutmeg.
  5. Bring to a simmer, and continue to cook, stirring, until the bechamel sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  1. Mix the bechamel sauce with the ham and cheese.
  2. Put a generous spoonful of rice in one hand and flatten it against the palm in order to obtain a hole in the center.
  3. Fill the hole with a tablespoon of filling.
  4. Cover everything with a little rice and form the shape of a small orange (or a cone if you prefer).
  5. Then prepare a liquid batter by mixing the flour and water. Season with salt.

  6. Dip the rice balls first into the batter and then into the breadcrumbs.
  7. Heat a large volume of oil in a large pot at medium-high heat.

  8. Deep fry the rice balls, a few at a time.
  9. Remove the rice balls with a slotted spoon when they are golden brown and place them on a plate lined with paper towel.

  10. Serve the rice balls warm or at room temperature.