Arancini (rice balls) are the pride of Sicilian cuisine. In Sicily they are found everywhere and at all times, always warm and fragrant and in many varieties. Their size and shape varies from one city to the next – they can be oval, pear-shaped or round, depending on the filling. This recipe is for the timeless classic – ham & mozzarella arancini.

Makes about 12 Arancini:

1 packet of saffron
A pinch of salt
30g butter
1.2 ltr water
500g carnaroli rice
100g of grated parmigiano reggiano

For ham filling:
30 grams of sliced ham
60 grams of mozzarella

For the batter/breading:
200 grams 00 flour
pinch of salt
300ml water
breadcrumbs and oil to taste

1. To prepare the rice balls, start by boiling the rice in 1.2l of boiling salted water. Ensure that once cooked, the water has been absorbed (this will allow the starch to remain in the pot and you have a very dry and compact consistency). Cook for about 15 minutes, then dissolve the saffron in a little water and add to the already cooked rice. Mix with the butter.
2. Add the grated cheese, stir well to mix thoroughly, then pour and level the rice on a wide tray and cover with cling film to cool. Meanwhile dice the ham and mozzarella into cubes or prepare any other filling of your choice.
3. Once the rice has cooled completely (it will take at least a couple of hours), take a few tablespoons at a time (about 120 grams of rice), push into a pile in the middle of your hand, forming a hollow, and place some cubes of ham and mozzarella into it. Then cover the base of the arancino with rice to create a ‘ball’ shape. Repeat to until you have prepared all your rice balls.
4. Now that you have all the arancini ready, prepare the batter: pour the flour, a pinch of salt and the water into a bowl. Mix thoroughly with a whisk to prevent lumps forming. Then dip the arancini, one by one, into the batter taking care to cover them entirely and then roll in breadcrumbs.
5. In a saucepan heat the oil and bring it to a temperature of 170-180 degrees, then fry one at a time or a maximum of two (so as not to lower the temperature of the oil). When golden brown, drain and place on a tray lined with paper towels. We recommend you enjoy them piping hot!