Arancine with sardines

Arancine with sardines

Introduction to the recipe

Sarde (sardines) play an important role in Sicilian cuisine, as the main ingredient in a number of particularly well-loved traditional recipes, such as pasta con le sarde (pasta cchi sardi, in dialect) or sarde a beccafico. They are usually prepared using ingredients typical of Sicily's sweet-and-sour culinary tradition, such as raisins, pine nuts and finocchietto (wild fennel).

In transforming them into arancine, we have respected these flavours, but reinterpreted them in a creative fashion. The rice is pleasantly flavoured with wild fennel, while the centre of the arancina is more reminiscent of sarde a beccafico.



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
  • 50 gr of wild fennel

For the finish:

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

For the filling:

  • 400 gr of sardines

  • 130 gr of bread crumbs

  • 50 gr of pine nuts

  • 50 g of raisins

  • ½ glass of white wine

  • ½ onion

  • 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
  • chop the fennel and halfway through cooking add to the rice
  • 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

  • Clean the sardines by removing their heads and entrails, then butterfly them and remove the bones
  • Slice the sardines into strips
  • Put the raisins to soak in cold water
  • Mince the onion and sauté it in extra virgin olive oil until it is just beginning to brown
  • Add the fish, the soaked raisins and the pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste, then add the white wine and simmer until reduced
  • Remove from the heat and add the breadcrumbs, mix them in well and leave it to cool

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!


If you want a filling with a softer texture, you can omit the breadcrumbs

Bonus idea

If you want your guests to be truly dazzled, sprinkle these arancine with a few drops of lemon juice right after you’ve fried them.

The art of camouflage is an old culinary trick, and Palermo has always been an expert. Sarde a beccaficco is a recipe that began as an “emulation”. Nobles commonly dined on small birds known as beccafichi (t.n. meaning “fig-peckers”, a colloquial name for the garden warbler). The poor made do with what they had: the songbirds were replaced by sardines, the stuffing by a humbler filling consisting of breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, raisins and oil. To complete the illusion, the fish tails were rolled up to emulate the appearance of a roast beccafico.

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  • Arancinotto Staff