Italian Rice Balls, arancini. Easy to make rice balls, filled with homemade beef ragu, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Delicious appetizers, party food or supper recipe.

Italian Rice Balls, arancini. Easy to make rice balls, filled with homemade beef ragu, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Delicious appetizers, party food or supper recipe

Italian Rice Balls. Easy to make, they take a little time but not hard to do, and of course all worth the effort once you bite into these!

This delicious recipe has been generously shared by one of our Lovefoodie supporters, Frances Carbone Hibberd.

These Homemade Italian Rice Balls (arancini) are really quite INCREDIBLE!

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Frances does say that they take a little time to make, but when you eat them, and you see your diners smiling and enjoying the fruits of your labour (love!) it's all worth the extra effort that goes into making these. Here, we've broken the recipe up in to parts for you so it is easier to follow.

You can serve them as they are, or with a nice tomato sauce, or some sauce left of from the ragu mixture, if you have any.

Frances made these the size of snowballs, and of course you can make them any size that suits! They sure are delicious!

Recipe by Frances Carbone Hibberd

Prep Time

40 - 50 minutes

Cook Time

10 minutes approx

Yield

10 Snowball size balls

Ingredients

For the Rice

5 cups chicken stock, canned reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups arborio rice, or other short grain rice
4 large eggs
2 cups Pecorino Romano, grated

For the Ragu

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup onion, chopped
salt
1/4 cup celery , finely diced
1/4 cup carrots, grated
14 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper, crushed
1 cup fresh peas, or frozen peas

To Coat and Fry the Rice Balls

2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup olive oil,

Instructions

Make the ragu

1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Crumble in the meat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the water given off by the meat is evaporated and the meat and onion begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Season the beef and onion lightly with the salt. Stir in the carrots and celery and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper, and salt to taste. Adjust the heat to simmering and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes.

If the sauce starts sticking to the pan at any time during cooking, stir in a few tablespoons of water.

Stir in the peas and cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes for frozen peas and 20 minutes for fresh peas.
The finished ragu should be dense and reduced. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Make the rice

1. While the ragu is cooling, make the rice. Bring the stock or water and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Stir in the rice, return the water to a boil, then adjust the heat to simmering. Cook the rice uncovered, until al dente, about 12 minutes.

2. Drain the rice and spread out on a tray to cool to room temperature. When the rice is cool, scrape it into a mixing bowl and beat in the 4 eggs and the grated cheese.

Form the balls

1. Take a handful of the cooled rice mixture and shape it into a small ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball and drop in 1 tablespoon of the ragu.

2. Work the rice so that it completely encloses the ragu, and re-form the rice into a smooth ball. Continue forming the rice balls with the remaining rice and ragu.

Cook the Rice Balls

1. Whisk the 2 eggs in a mixing bowl. Spread the flour on one plate and the bread crumbs on another, in an even layer.

2. Dredge a few of the rice balls in the flour to coat all sides. Tap off excess flour. Roll the rice balls in the beaten egg to coat, allowing any excess egg to drip back into the bowl.

Finally, roll the rice balls in the bread crumbs, pressing lightly to coat evenly with the crumbs. Remove to a clean baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rice balls.

3. When you'd like to serve the rice balls, heat the oven to 200 degrees F or to the lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels. Pour the vegetable oil and olive oil into a deep skillet. Insert a deep-frying thermometer into the oil and heat the oil over medium heat to 375 degrees F.

4. Test the temperature of the oil by dipping a rice ball in. It should give off a lively but steady sizzle. If nothing happens, the oil isn't hot enough. If the oil around the bread-crumb coating boils and sputters, the oil is too hot. Adjust accordingly.

5. When the oil comes to temperature, carefully slip about a third of the rice balls into the oil. Fry, turning as necessary with tongs or a slotted spoon, until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 4 minutes.

6. Remove to the paper towel-lined baking sheet, keeping them hot in the oven if you like. Fry the remaining balls. The Rice Balls can be served hot or at room temperature.

Italian Rice Balls, arancini. Easy to make rice balls, filled with homemade beef ragu, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Delicious appetizers, party food or supper recipe

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Italian Rice Balls, arancini. Easy to make rice balls, filled with homemade beef ragu, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Delicious appetizers, party food or supper recipe

Recipe Card

Italian Rice Balls, arancini. Easy to make rice balls, filled with homemade beef ragu, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Delicious appetizers, party food or supper recipe

Homemade Italian Rice Balls (arancini)

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Italian Rice Balls, arancini. Easy to make rice balls, filled with homemade beef ragu, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Delicious appetizers, party food or supper recipe

Ingredients

For the Rice:

  • 5 cups chicken stock, canned reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups arborio rice, or other short grain rice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups Pecorino Romano, grated

For the Ragu:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, grated
  • 14 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper, crushed
  • 1 cup fresh peas, or frozen peas

To Coat and Fry the Rice Balls:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Instructions

Make the ragu

  1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Crumble in the meat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the water given off by the meat is evaporated and the meat and onion begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Season the beef and onion lightly with the salt. Stir in the carrots and celery and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper, and salt to taste. Adjust the heat to simmering and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes.

***If the sauce starts sticking to the pan at any time during cooking, stir in a few tablespoons of water. Stir in the peas and cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes for frozen peas and 20 minutes for fresh peas.

  1. The finished ragu should be dense and reduced. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Make the rice

  1. While the ragu is cooling, make the rice. Bring the stock or water and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Stir in the rice, return the water to a boil, then adjust the heat to simmering. Cook the rice uncovered, until al dente, about 12 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice and spread out on a tray to cool to room temperature. When the rice is cool, scrape it into a mixing bowl and beat in the 4 eggs and the grated cheese.

Form the balls

  1. Take a handful of the cooled rice mixture and shape it into a small ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball and drop in 1 tablespoon of the ragu.
  2. Work the rice so that it completely encloses the ragu, and re-form the rice into a smooth ball. Continue forming the rice balls with the remaining rice and ragu.

Cook the Rice Balls

  1. Whisk the 2 eggs in a mixing bowl. Spread the flour on one plate and the bread crumbs on another, in an even layer.
  2. Dredge a few of the rice balls in the flour to coat all sides. Tap off excess flour. Roll the rice balls in the beaten egg to coat, allowing any excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Finally, roll the rice balls in the bread crumbs, pressing lightly to coat evenly with the crumbs.. Remove to a clean baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rice balls.
  3. If you'd like to serve the rice balls, heat the oven to 200 degrees F or to the lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels. Pour the vegetable oil and olive oil into a deep skillet. Insert a deep-frying thermometer into the oil and heat the oil over medium heat to 375 degrees F.
  4. Test the temperature of the oil by dipping a rice ball in. It should give off a lively but steady sizzle. If nothing happens, the oil isn't hot enough. If the oil around the bread-crumb coating boils and sputters, the oil is too hot. Adjust accordingly.
  5. When the oil comes to temperature, carefully slip about a third of the rice balls into the oil. Fry, turning as necessary with tongs or a slotted spoon, until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 4 minutes.
  6. Remove to the paper towel-lined baking sheet, keeping them hot in the oven if you like. Fry the remaining balls. The Rice Balls can be served hot or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 771Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 172mgSodium: 771mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 32g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate

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