Al Pacino’s Sicilian Rice Balls

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AL PACINO
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ARANCINI in CAPRI
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A Plate of Fresh Made Arancini
Rice Balls
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ARANCINI
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   Excerpted from Daniel Bellino-Zwicke’s forthcoming book; 
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GREATEST HITS ITALIAN COOKBOOK
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100 Recipes of Italian-America’s Favorite Dishes
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Rice Balls are a great favorite of the South of Italy where they can be found all over the
place, in restaurants and trattorias, grocery stores, Salumerias, at Wine Bars,
and caffes. Arancini are beloved by Italian-Americans as well, but nowhere near
the extent that they are eaten in the mother country of Italy. I love them, as
they remind me of the many places I have eaten them on wonderful ttrips to
Italy. I especially remember having real tasty ones on the beautiful Isle of
Capri and one wonderful Salumeria, Capri Sulumeria Rosticceria near the Piazza
Umberto. I had come up from Marina Grande after a boat trip around the island
and a visit to the Blue Grotto, followed by a wonderful swim at the beach. I
took the little yellow bus up to Capri Town. After getting off the bus I
spotted this lovely little Salumeria and popped in. I saw the Arancini on the
counter and just had to have one. I got a bottle of water and walked over to
the terrace of the piazza to admire the gorgeous view of Capri at this
particular location, which is absolutely spectacular. I took a seat on the
bench, cracked open my water and dug into the Rice Ball (Arancino). Wow! It was
delicious, and one of the best I’d ever had. After that, I went back to the
Salumeria every day for an Aracini or two, including the day I was going to
swim at the famed Faroglioni Rocks. I first stopped by the Salumeria and got
one of their tasty Arancino along with some Eggplant Parmigiano made by Mamma.
I got some water and a small bottle of local Aglianico Wine from Benevento. I
took the scenic walk down to the Faraglioni where I swam all day and had one of
the most memorable lunch’s of my life. The setting was one of the World’s most
beautiful, at the Faraglioni on the beautiful Isle of Capri with my wine, the
eggpalant, and my tasty Arancino from the Salumeria Capri. It just doesn’t ever
get any better than that. Basta.
Arancini
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Conical Shaped Rice Balls
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RECIPE:
The FILLING
½ pound Ground
Beef
3 tablespoons
Olive Oil
1 small Onion,
peeled and minced fine
½ cup Tomato
Sauce (optional)
Salt &
Black Pepper to taste
3/4 cup Frozen
Peas
RICE :
1 pound Arborio
Rice
4 cups Chicken
Broth or water
1 small pinch
Saffron
2 tablespoons
Butter
½ cup grated
Parmigiano Reggiano
1 extra Large
Egg
Salt &
White Pepper to taste
½ pound of
Provolone or Cacciocavalo Chesse,
cut into small
chunks
BREADING
½ cup Flour
2 beaten Eggs
2 ½ cups Plain
Breadcrumbs
4 cups Canola
Oil for frying
Place the ground beef and onions in a pan with the Olive Oil and cook on a low flame
until beef is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and black
pepper, about 1/ teaspoon each, or to your taste. Add peas and cook for 2
minutes. Turn heat off, and set aside to cool.
Add Chicken Broth (or Water if using) to a 6 quart pot with the rice, butter and ½ teaspoon
salt. Bring liquid to the boil and stir as you do this. Once the liquid comes
to the boil, turn heat to lowest flame possible and let cook without stirring
for 16 minutes. Turn heat off and let rice set in the pot for 12 minutes.
Place the rice in a large glass bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.
Once the rice is completely cool, add ½ teaspoon white pepper and a ½ teaspoon of salt and
the grated Parmigiano and mix. Add 1 beaten Egg and mix.
Take a handful of rice and place between both your hands and roll into balls that are just
slightly smaller than a baseball, or you can make smaller if you like. Once you
have shaped the rice into a ball, hold the rice ball with your left hand and
push the thumb of your right hand into the ball to make a hole that goes to the
center of the ball, making a hole that you will put the beef filling into.
Take about a tablespoon of the beef filling and put it into the hole. Place 1 or 2 pieces of
the Provolone into the hole. Press rice around the hole to cover it up, and then round the rice between your two hands again to make the Rice Ball into a perfect ball shape.
Continue this process until all the rice is gone and made into Rice Balls.
Get 3 small shallow bowls and put the flour in 1 bowl, the breadcrumbs in another bowl, and
the beaten eggs into the 3rd bowl. Take a rice ball and put it into
the bowl with the flour and gently roll it around until it is completely
covered with a light coating of flour. Gently shake off any excess flour.
Now place the ball into the eggs and completely cover with the egg. Gently shake off any excess egg.
Now roll the rice ball with the egg on it into the breadcrumbs until ball is completely
covered with breadcrumbs. Shake off excess. Repeat these last 3 steps with each
rice ball until they are all coated with breadcrumbs.
Place the canola oil (or any vegetable oil) in a medium sized frying pan and heat to
high. Fry a few rice balls at a time until golden brown. Fry all the rice balls
and place on paper towels and let cool a few minutes before serving, at which
point they will still be hot, but not too hot. Or you can let them cool further
and serve at room temperature with or without Marinara Sauce on the side.
NOTE:
To make the Rice Ball that I describe in my little story above, substitute pieces of
fresh mozzarella cheese for the beef mixture and you will have a rice ball like
the one I had on my lovely little Isle of Capri. Either way, both ways are
equally tasty.
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This Recipe is a Gift form Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke to Celebrate the release (July 2015) of his latest book ; Grandma Bellino’s Italian Cookbook  … Recipes from My Sicilian Grandmother  ….. Broadway Fifth Pres, NY NY

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CAPRI SALUMERIA ROSTICCERIA
Near The Piazza Umberto, CAPRI
Just Past The Bus Stop 
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ARANCINI, PANNINI, PIZZA
and Other GOODIES at CAPRI SALUMERIA
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PHOTO TAKEN by Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
From Summit of Mt Solaro
Anacapri, Capri ITALY
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My Favorite Lemonade Granita Stand in Capri
Near The Caeser Augustus Gardens, Capri
Behind The Qusisanna Hotel
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SUNDAY SAUCE
When Italian-Americans Cook
by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
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GRANDMA BELLINO’S ITALIAN COOKBOOK
Recipes From my Sicilian Grandmother
by Daniel Bellino Z
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AL PACINO
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