(Arancini Alla Siciliana)
The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press
• 1½ cups long-grain rice
• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
• scant 1/2 cup ground lean beef
• scant 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 3½ ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Cook the rice in plenty of salted, boiling water for 15-18 minutes until tender.
Drain, tip into a bowl and stir in half the butter and the Parmesan, then spread the rice out on the counter and let cool.
Melt the remaining butter in a pan, add the beef and cook, stirring frequently, until browned all over.
Sprinkle with the wine and cook until it has evaporated
Stir in the tomato paste, cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, then season with salt and remove from the heat.
Shape the cooled rice into croquettes as large as small oranges - hence the name arancini - and hollow out the centers.
Fill with a little meat sauce and a cube of mozzarella and seal with more rice.
Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in a shallow dish and spread out the flour in another shallow dish.
Dip the croquettes in the beaten eggs, then in the flour and shake off any excess.
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or pan to 350-375°F or until a cube of day-old bread browns in 30 seconds.
Deep-fry the croquettes in the hot oil until golden brown all over.
Drain on paper towels and serve.