A Slice of Arancini


Originating in Sicily and often coined “rice balls” in Italian-American eateries, arancini are the ultimate crispy, melty snack. The tennis ball-sized spheres of risotto are filled with ground meat and cheese, coated in breadcrumbs, deep-fried and served atop a pool of marinara sauce. The name is derived from the shape and color which is reminiscent of an orange, “arancia” in Italian.

While arancini are incredibly enjoyable as snacks, we decided to revamp the traditional, crunchy cheesy orbs and transform them into a savory tart.

Our Arancini Tart is an elegant auburn display that when sliced, reveals a decadent ragu–an impressive entree at any dinner party.

Arancini Tart

Risotto Layer
4 T unsalted butter
1/2 c chopped yellow onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 1/2 c Arborio rice
6 c chicken broth
Pinch of saffron threads
1 c Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper throughout

Ragu Filling
8 oz ground beef
8 oz sweet Italian sausage
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finally chopped
2 celery stalks, finally chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c red wine (whatever you’re drinking!)
16 oz crushed tomatoes (we use Pastene)
2 T tomato paste
1 T sugar
1 T dried basil
salt and pepper throughout

3/4 c breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium-sized pot, saute the onion in the 2 T EVOO and 1 T butter on medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee for 2 minutes. Add the rice and toast for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook, about 18-20 minutes until the rice is cooked through. Stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and 1 T butter. Spread the rice onto a baking sheet to let cool slightly before preparing the tart.

In a separate large sautee pan, add the ground beef and sausage and cook over medium-high heat until brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the meat and skim the fat. Turn down the heat to medium, add a little EVOO if need be, and add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the red wine and scrape the bottom. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried basil, browned meat and sausage, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

To assemble: Grease an 8-inch spring form pan with 2 T butter on the bottom and all sides. Coat the pan with the breadcrumbs, reserving 1/4 to sprinkle on the top. Fill the bottom of the mold with an even layer of 1/3 of the risotto, pressing down with a spatula. Line the sides of the pan with another 1/3 of the risotto using a spatula. Pour in the meat ragu. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the risotto and smooth the surface. Sprinkle with a generous layer of the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake for 1 hour and let cool slightly. Loosen the edges with a knife and pop open the spring pan. Serves 6-8.

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One comment

  • Terri @ Terri's Table January 29, 2013  

    That looks amazing! I have a batch of Lamb Bolognese in the freezer that would be awesome with this.

    Thanks for sharing.

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