Serves 10 (approximately 36 rice balls)
Recipe courtesy of: Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the by Francine Segan (Random House)
“Arancini” or little oranges, a Sicilian specialty popular throughout Italy, are stuffed rice balls that are coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Arancini make a wonderful Happy Hour nibble, perfect when paired with slices of San Daniele Prosciutto.
Prosciutto di San Daniele has rosy red aromatic meat that is nicely marbled with white fate. Made with just three ingredients – pork thighs from pigs that were raised only from central and north Italy, plus sea salt and the special microclimate of San Daniele – prosciuto is melt-in-your-mouth tender.
1 pound Italian rice (such as Vialone or origianario rice)
1/3 cup cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup grated caciocavallo cheese
1/2 cup flour or dried bread crumbs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pound San Daniele Prosciutto
Cook the rice according to the package directions. Combine the cooked rice, cream, egg and cheese in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Roll a little rice into 1 inch diameter balls. Place the flour or bread crumbs on a flat plate. Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly roll the rice balls in the flour or bread crumbs. Cook, turning occasionally, until completely browned on all sides. Remove the rice balls from the pan and drain on paper towels. Discard the oil in the pan, wipe it clean, and repeat the process with the remaining rice balls.
Serve accompanied by slices of San Daniele Prosciutto.
A taste of the past: Archaeological excavation under the church of San Daniele in Castello, in the Fruili Venezia Giulia region of Italy, revealed that pigs were already being used as food between the 11th century and the 8th century B.C. Pig farming practices and the curing of pork for prosciutto and other salumi developed in the Middle Ages.
Arancine originated in 10th century Sicily and back then these savory balls
would have been colored purple or yellow with dried edible flower petals, onion skins or saffron.