AL Pacino ‘s – SICILIAN Rice Balls



A Plate of Fresh Made Arancini

Rice Balls

   Excerpted from Daniel Bellino-Zwicke’s forthcoming book; 

100 Recipes of Italian-America’s Favorite Dishes

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 trips 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 eggplant, and my tasty Arancino from the Salumeria Capri. It just doesn’t ever get any better than that. Basta.


Conical Shaped Rice Balls



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
 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
 ½ cup Flour
2 beaten Eggs
2 ½ cups Plain
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 ChickenBroth (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 smallshallow 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.

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 Press, NY NY


Near The Piazza Umberto, CAPRI

Just Past The Bus Stop 



PHOTO TAKEN by Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

From Summit of Mt Solaro

Anacapri, Capri ITALY





My Favorite Lemonade Granita Stand in Capri

Near The Caeser Augustus Gardens, Capri

Behind The Qusisanna Hotel


When Italian-Americans Cook

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke



Recipes From my Sicilian Grandmother

by Daniel Bellino Z


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