Arancini alla siracusana (Syracuse-style)

Arancini alla siracusana (Syracuse-style)

Introduction to the recipe

Syracuse, like all of Sicily, draws upon the rich fruits of the local soil, like Pachino tomatoes, but also on the bounty of the sea, such as sardines. When these flavours come together, the result is marvellous. Be it spaghetti or arancini, the tastes are unique, with all of the freshness and aroma of Mediterranean cuisine. Like the well-loved traditional “pasta ammuddicata”, this sauce from Syracuse also incorporates breadcrumbs, while the addition of cheese gives these arancini a beautifully melting and irresistible centre.



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 vegetable 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 cherry tomatoes or datterini

  • 1 onion

  • 3 savory sardines in oil

  • 100 gr of breadcrumbs

  • 150 gr of primosale cheese or fresh pecorino cheese

  • 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

  • Quarter the tomatoes
  • Cut the onions into paper-thin slices and sauté them in a pan with 3 tablespoons of oil until they become translucent
  • Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook over low heat until the sauce reduces and thickens
  • In a second pan, sauté the sardines in a drizzle of oil until they break apart and dissolve, then add the bread crumbs and let the flavours blend
  • When the tomato sauce has cooled, add it to the breadcrumb mixture and mix it in thoroughly
  • Dice the cheese and add it to the other ingredients

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!


The rice can also be prepared in rosso (red), by adding some tomato purée to it while it is cooking.

Bonus idea

The filling can be embellished by the addition of fresh sardine fillets.

There is a Sicilian saying that expresses a profound truth: Cu’ mancia fa’ muddichi (“Anyone who eats inevitably generates crumbs”). The equivalent expression in Italian (as in English) would be, “You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs”. In other words, everything has a price that must be paid.

The Sicilian saying, however, centres around bread, that most essential of foods, thereby further emphasising, or so it would seem, the fact that every action, even the simplest and most necessary, must per force leave some mark. That is a truth that Hop-o’-My-Thumb, for one, understood well.

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  • Arancinotto Staff