Arancine with tuna and onion

Arancine with tuna and onion

Introduction to the recipe

Bluefin tuna is a highly prized fish, and is most often eaten in the springtime, when the tuna are migrating towards the Mediterranean Sea and their flesh is especially fatty and flavourful. They do not eat once they have arrived, so they gradually lose their fat and their flesh is no longer prime. There are two different techniques for bringing out the full flavour of tuna, and they lie at opposite ends of the spectrum: on the one hand, you can eat it raw or lightly seared; on the other, you can stew it.

The latter technique is the one used to prepare the classic Sicilian tunnina ca’ cipudda  (tuna with onions), with its slightly sweet-and-sour flavour, intended to be eaten at room temperature. We therefore recommend that you do not eat these arancini when they are piping hot, but rather wait until they are cool in order to fully appreciate the flavour of their filling.



160 grams


Ingredients for about 12 arancini

For rice:

  • 500 grams of rice ("Roma" and "Originario" rices, mixed in equal doses)
  • 1.1 liter of fish stock
  • 2 bags of saffron
  • 10 grams of salt
  • 60-100 grams of butter

For the finish:

  • 100 gr of flour
  • 180 ml of water
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 gr of bread crumbs

For the filling:

  • 300 gr of bluefin tuna

  • 50 gr of semolina flour

  • 200 grams of white onion or Giarratana

  • 1 coffee cup of apple vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • Origan

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • salt, black pepper

Preparation of rice and filling


How to prepare the rice:

  • In a saucepan, put the broth, the butter, the saffron and the salt
  • When the stock is boiling, add the rice and mix well
  • Cover and cook over low heat until the rice absorbs all the broth and is cooked but al dente
  • When cooked, stir, pour the rice on a cold surface and spread evenly to allow rapid cooling
  • When the rice is cool down, it is ready to prepare the arancini

For more informations about rice, Click here.

The filling

  • Peel the onions and cut them into relatively thin slices
  • Sauté the onions in a large pan with a drizzle of oil until they are just beginning to brown, then turn down the heat, cover, and let them simmer over low heat for 40 minutes, adding a little water if necessary
  • Meanwhile, chop the tuna into cubes, coat it in the flour and fry it briefly in extra virgin olive oil, then place it on absorbent paper
  • Add the tuna to the onion, sauté it long enough to let it take on the flavour, then add salt and oregano
  • Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and add it to the tuna and onions
  • Stew over low heat for another 30 minutes, until the sauce has reduced
  • Let it cool, then mince the pieces of tuna and mix them back into the onions to create the filling

How to shape the arancini

How to frying the arancini

The finishing touch

Put the arancini in the batter and in the bread crumbs as follows:

  • In a bowl, place the flour
  • Add the egg and water and beat well with whips
  • When the batter is smooth and dense, pass the arancini
  • Immediately after having passed them in the batter, pass the arancini in bread crumbs


  • Fry in plenty of oil until golden brown, to ensure your arancini fry up perfectly, use one of the following oils: peanut oil, olive oil, or palm oil.
  • Heat the oil to the ideal temperature, 190°C, either in a frying pan or by setting the temperature on your deep fryer.
  • If using a pan, you can make sure that the oil has reached the proper temperature by dropping in a bread crumb. If it sizzles, then the oil is ready.
  • Immerse the arancini gently in the oil, only a few at a time, so as to prevent the temperature of the oil from falling too low.
  • When they are done, place the arancini on absorbent paper, then serve.
  • Serve the arancini with sauce on the side.

For more information about Finishing and Frying, Click here.

Enjoy your arancini!


There is version of tunnina e cipudda made using red onion that is also exquisite.

Bonus idea

You can add a handful of almonds to the filling to give it a pleasant crunch.

What do you think of the recipe? Send us the photos!

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  • Arancinotto Staff