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Montalbano Arancini Recipe Easy Way (Sicilian Rice Balls)

Inspector Montalbano recipes. One of the most popular Sicilian dishes is the Arancino. As it could not be otherwise, this is one of the favourite dishes of Inspector Montalbano. In this article, we show you How to Make Montalbano Arancini Recipe at home, the easy way to make the Montalbano’s croquettes recipe.

What is an Arancino? An arancino is a kind of conical rice croquette traditional in Sicilian gastronomy. Its name in Italian is Arancino (singular), and Arancini (plural).

What Is The Arancino Made Of?

The Arancino is an Arborio-type rice croquette, fried, conical, with different types of filling according to the desired variety, coated externally with breadcrumbs. The cooking method is fried. Only the outside breadcrumbs are fried. The inside is not greasy.

Sicilian Arancini Rice croquettes are filled. The filling can be as varied as you like, with peas and tomato sauce, ham and mozzarella cheese, ragù, only vegetables, seafood, etc. The Sicilians have produced this Montalbano’s croquettes recipe for a thousand years.

Best Type of Rice for Sicilian Arancino (Montalbano Arancini Recipe)

One of Inspector Montalbano’s favourite food is the Arancino. The rice croquettes are made with a bowl of particular rice. For making arancini it is best to use arborio rice, as it is a long-grain rice with a high starch content, which gives it a firm consistency and makes it suitable for making arancini. In addition, arborio rice swells during cooking and creates a soft, moist texture inside the arancini.

Other options could be carnaroli rice or vialone nano rice, similar to arborio rice in terms of texture and consistency.

Ingredients for Montalbano Arancini Recipe

An arancino (plural: Arancini) is a traditional Sicilian dish made of rice, typically stuffed with meat and vegetables and then fried.

Here’s how to make Montalbano Arancini Recipe at home.

Basic Ingredients for Montalbano’s Rice Croquettes:

  • Olive oil (to sauté the rice)
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Caciocavallo cheese (original Sicilian recipe) or Parmesan cheese (ingredient to replace the Caciocavallo cheese)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Montalbano Arancini Recipe: For the filling

  • 100 g of minced pork and 100 g of minced veal.
  • In Italy, it is easy to find the chopped mixture of onion, celery, and carrot; it is commercially available in a freeze-dried form called “Misto per soffritto“. If we do not have this mixture, we prepare it by finely chopping the ingredients.
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 piece of chopped celery (very small, as if it were an onion)
  • 1 piece of chopped carrot (also very finely chopped, as if we were chopping an onion)
  • 200 g of tomato purée would be the tomato sauce without any additives or flavorings (in Italy it is the classic “Passata di Pomodoro“). Crushed peeled tomato is a good substitute.
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil to sauté the meat.
  • Salt, pepper, parsley, and basil (to taste)
  • A pinch of peas
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

For Coating the Arancini:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying. It can be sunflower oil, corn oil, or a mixture. Do not use olive oil for frying the arancini. The taste is too strong.

What is Caciocavallo Cheese?

Caciocavallo cheese is a typical Sicilian cheese very popular in the province of Ragusa, the filming location of Inspector Montalbano.

It is a type of stretched curd cheese that is originally from southern Sicily. It is made from cow’s milk and has a pear-shaped form. The name “Caciocavallo” means “cheese on horseback” in Italian, and it refers to how the cheese is traditionally hung to age.

I would say the Caciocavallo cheese taste is different from others. It is very hand-made, produced with high-quality creamy milk. It is semi-hard and has a smooth, yellow exterior. Furthermore, it has a mild, slightly sweet flavour and a slightly elastic texture. It is often used in Italian cuisine and is often enjoyed as a table cheese or used in cooking. It can be grated and used as a topping for pasta or pizzas, replacing the traditional mozzarella or sliced and served with bread and fruit.

Caciocavallo cheese is a popular choice in Italy, moreover in Sicily, and is an important ingredient in the Montalbano Arancini Recipe.  

montalbano arancini recipe

Montalbano’s Croquettes Recipe: Instructions

First, let’s sauté the Arancini rice in a large pot.

First, to sauté the rice in a frying pan, heat a little olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Then, add the rice and stir to mix it with the oil. Let the rice brown lightly, stirring occasionally.

Instead of adding water, you will prepare the rice Arancini tastier. Add chicken or vegetable broth a little at a time, stirring to mix with the rice. That will give the rice more flavour. Let the rice cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and has absorbed all the broth. It may take 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.

Finally, once the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and stir in the Caciocavallo cheese (optional cheese could be Parmesan cheese). Season with salt and pepper.

Now, let’s prepare the filling of the Montalbano Arancini Recipe. Inspector Montalbano’s favourite arancini are Ragu’s Arancini.

What is the Ragù?

Ragu (in Italian, ragù) is a mixture of beef and pork, sautéed with chopped onion and spices, and cooked in a tomato sauce with some peas. As explained in previous paragraphs, the filling of Arancini can be with ham and cheese, seafood, vegetarian with broccoli, aubergines, artichoke hearts, and meat, with the Ragu filling being the most popular Arancini.

Here we go with the details of preparing the ragù stuffing from the Montalbano Arancini Recipe.

Montalbano Arancini Recipe: Ragu Stuffing

To prepare ragu (ragù in Italian), let’s start with an onion, a piece of celery, and a piece of carrot, almost in equal parts (a little more onion, I advise), finely chopped. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the mixture until soft and golden brown.

Then add the meat to the pan and cook until browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once cooked, add the tomato sauce or crushed, peeled tomato to the pan and mix well with the meat.

Mix well occasionally and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or as long as necessary to ensure it is fully cooked.

The next step is adding to the mix a pinch of cooked peas.

Lastly, taste the ragù. A pinch of sugar may be needed to balance the flavour and neutralise the sauce’s acidity, but this is to taste. Generally, tomato sauces that are prepared with some carrots are not acidic.

Let the ragu cool before preparing the Arancini.

Coating and Cooking Montalbano’s Arancini

Once we have the cold rice and ragu, we will assemble the Arancini di Montalbano. Remove the mixtures from the fridge to bring them to room temperature.

First, add the ragu 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated it, and mix gently. Now you have the ragu fully prepared for stuffing the Montalbano’s Arancini.

Then, on a flat surface, such as a cutting board or countertop, sprinkle a bit of flour. Place a small handful of the rice mixture onto the flour and use your hands to shape it into a cone or cylinder shape.

How big should the arancino be when we are preparing them? Arancini means “little oranges” in Italian because it has the weight and size of a small orange, one of Sicily’s most popular citrus fruits. So you can calculate that the Arancini is easy to eat with the hand, but it covers it entirely.

Place a spoonful of the Montalbano’s Ragù stuffing into the center of the rice, and then use your hands to cover the filling with more rice, shaping the arancino as desired. Repeat until all the rice mixtures have been used up.

Place the flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip each arancino first in the flour, then the egg, and then the bread crumbs, ensuring to coat all sides evenly.

montalbano arancini recipe

Arancini Maker (Arancinotto)

If you plan to prepare Arancini routinely, it might be a good idea to purchase online an Arancini Maker called Arancinotto.

2Pcs 160g Arancini Maker Mold Meatball Mold Rice Ball Maker Shake Kitchen Tools Cone Press DIY Kit Ball Mold Maker Kit Meatball Maker Mold Rice Scoop Ball Rice Mold Onigiri Molds Rice Ball Maker Mold
  • High Quality of Meatball Mold: These rice ball molds for kids are made from premium quality plastic material which is lightweight so, perfect choice for daily cooking routine to make delicious recipes.
  • Unique Design of Meat Baller Scoop: These rice maker small bento tools have impressive appearance as it is build with unique and distinctive design. With this sushi shape rice mold you can DIY your meatballs by yourself.
  • Easy to Clean Rice Ball Mold Shaker: This rice shaper onigiri mold set is so much easy to clean. After you have done the cooking, you can easily clean this meatball maker tool by using a cleaning sponge.

The Arancini Maker Arancinotto is a plastic device that helps to compress the rice into the elongated shape of the arancino. With a pointed plunger, it prepares the hole to fill the arancino, and once filled, you add more rice, and with another plunger, you give it the characteristic pointed shape. There are arancini makers of different sizes and shapes. It is economical and saves time.

arancini maker arancinotto
If you plan to prepare Arancini routinely, it might be a good idea to purchase online an Arancini Maker called Arancinotto.

Cooking Arancini

To continue, heat a few inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add a few of the arancini and fry for 2–3 minutes, only until golden brown. No more time is required as all the inside is pre-cooked.

Finally, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining arancini.

To keep Montalbano’s Arancini crispy, once the paper towel has done its job, remove it and discard it. Also, do not add salt. Otherwise, they will absorb moisture and soften their surface.

See more Inspector Montalbano Recipes by following the link to our post.

Check out Inspector Montalbano’s Recipes with fish and seafood included in our article Montalbano Fish Recipes.

To conclude with this Montalbano Arancini Recipe Easy Way (Sicilian Rice Balls), one last tip to re-heat Arancini. Do you want to eat later? No problem. They can be easily heated in the oven without altering the shape, and this will keep them crispy. We hope you will prepare and enjoy this traditional Sicilian recipe.

arancini maker

About Giuseppe

Meet Joe, one half of the dynamic duo behind this blog. A passionate fan of the Inspector Montalbano TV series and Andrea Camilleri’s books, Joe, along with his wife Giulia, embarked on a journey to explore Montalbano’s Sicily. After a captivating visit to Italy, they decided to make Ragusa their home, drawn to the city's baroque art, delectable Sicilian cuisine, and the enchanting beaches of Marina di Ragusa, Scoglitti, Cefalù, and more. Joe also loves discovering and sharing famous filming locations across Europe.

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