Ragù rice arancini
A typical Sicilian food made in a thousand ways with different shapes and names. Here we offer a classic version made with a ragù sauce and pair it with a Salina Rosso from Cantine Colosi.
Before any true-blue Sicilian objects, let us clarify that we have chosen the name and shape common to eastern Sicily in homage to the wine we have paired it with. In Palermo, as well as western Sicily in general, they are called arancine (little oranges) and are round to resemble the fruit.
Ingredients for some 12 arancini:
600g fine Arborio rice, 1 ½ liters beef broth, 1 onion (1/2 for the rice and ½ for the ragù), 50g butter, 1 packet of saffron (better if pistils), 150g grated Parmigiano, 100g fresh pecorino cheese cut into cubes (it can be substituted with other cheeses like variations of provolone or mozzarella), an ample amount of bread crumbs and corn oil for frying.
For the ragù: 100g ground beef, 100g ground pork, 50g tomato paste, 1 laurel leaf, 1 clove, 100g fresh and shelled peas (frozen can be used), extra-virgin olive oil, ½ glass of red wine (best to sue the one it is paired with) and salt and pepper as needed.
The rice should be cooked in the same way as for a risotto several hours before preparing the arancini. The rice must be cold and starch from the rice must stay in the pan it was cooked in.
For the rice: finely chop the onion and sauté without browning it in butter in a broad and ample pan.
Add the rice and toast it then mix in a few ladles of hot broth and keep stirring as it continues to cook, adding more broth when the previous broth has been absorbed, until the rice is done.
Remove the rice from the heat and mix in the grated Parmigiano and the rest of the butter. After mixing for a few minutes add in the saffron that has been dissolved in broth and continue mixing until everything has amalgamated.
Put the rice on a large plate or platter, cover it with plastic wrap to ensure it does not dry out and let it cool.
For the ragù: sauté the ½ onion in EVOO. Add in the ground meat and brown it at a high heat, using a wooden spoon to crumble it and make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Pour in the wine and lower the heat.
Add the tomato paste, which has been diluted with a little broth, and the herbs then cover and cook at a low heat until the ragù thickens. Salt to taste and add, if you like, a little ground pepper.
Cook the peas then drain them and add to the ragù.
Final preparation: take a heaping tablespoon of rice and place it into the palm of your (damp) hand to create a shape with a cavity into which goes a tablespoon of ragù with a cube of cheese in the middle.
Use another spoon to add in enough rice cover the cavity and squeeze the rice to make sure it is compact and create a cone shape. Repeat this operation until the ingredients are finished.
Roll the arancini one by one in the bread crumbs compacting them further. Some recipes call for dipping the arancini in a batter of water and flour before rolling them in the bread crumbs but I do not think this is necessary and they will be lighter if this is not done.
Fry the arancini in abundant oil until they are a golden yellow. The best result are obtained using a fryer.
Wine to pair:
(Edited by Stefania Vinciguerra)
Salina Rosso Cantine Colosi
Garnet ruby red, with intense fruit aromas of cherries and spices like vanilla and black pepper with a hint of salt. On the palate is warm and persistent with a good intensity and equilibrium.
Production area: Malfa - Salina, Isole Eolie, volcanic soil.
Grape varieties: Nerello Cappuccio and Nerello Mascalese, Guyot trained.
Wine-making: harvest is in the second-third decade of September. Ageing in large barrels for six months and in stainless steel vats for 6 months more at controlled temperature; 3 months in bottle prior to release.
Alcoholic Content: 13% vol.
Serving Temperature: 12°C (54° F).
Suggested Food Pairing: perfect with traditional Eolian dishes, with red meats and aged cheese.
THIS RECIPE IS OFFERED BY CANTINE COLOSI