THE DARING COOKS’ JANUARY 2014 CHALLENGE: ARANCINE

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This month’s challenge is very special for a few reasons. For starters, our hostess, Manu, graciously stepped in with very little notice and created an entire amazing challenge in pretty much no time at all. Secondly, Manu managed to do all of this while publishing her very first e-cookbook. Seriously, you simply must check it out here: http://www.manusmenu.com/books/manus-menu-christmas-menus. Delicious inspiration for your holiday table! And lastly, but not leastly, the challenge itself holds a special place in Ruth’s heart, specifically, as her very first Daring Kitchen challenge was the Risotto challenge, and this month, Manu is bringing it back for us, but taking it up a delicious notch. So without further ado, take it away, Manu!

Yes, you got that right, this month I got the honour of hosting a Daring Cooks’ challenge!  This was the second time I hosted a challenge, after the Cannelloni one… and I was thrilled!  So, here is the challenge…

Wow! When Shelley and Ruth contacted me to ask if I wanted to if I could step in with a challenge for January, I did not even have to think about it.  It’s been an emotional roller coaster these last few weeks and it still feels surreal to be writing a challenge for the Daring Cooks’ without Lis.  It feels surreal and hard, but at the same time right, as I know Lis would have wanted this community to keep going.  I know many of you understand what I mean.  I would like to dedicate this challenge to Lis: you are and will always be terribly missed!

Even though I have been living in Australia for 7 years, I was born and brought up in Milan (Italy) by Sicilian parents and my blog is all about authentic Italian home cooking.  I cook a lot of Sicilian food at home, I would actually say that I cook mostly Sicilian food, as that’s what I have grown up eating.  I love it: it is hearty and tasty!  So, today, I would like to challenge all of you to cook a Sicilian street food classic: Arancine (also known as Arancini in the Eastern area of Sicily).  The recipes I will share with you are my family’s recipes.  This is the way my father’s grandmother used to make arancine for the whole family.  My dad learnt from her and I from him… and today I am honored to pass these recipes onto all of you!  I think they are amongst the “oldest family recipes” I have!  So, ready to start?

Recipe Source:  Arancine al Ragu’ – Manuela Zangara, Arancine al Burro – Manuela Zangara, Arancine agli Spinaci – Manuela Zangara

Posting Date:  January 14, 2014

Note:  As an advocate of authentic Italian cuisine I would advise you all to try, whenever possible, to cook Italian dishes with Italian products. In this specific case, try and use authentic Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano) and other Italian cheeses, if available. Also, use fresh mozzarella and not the shredded kind as the taste is quite different.  Last but not least, a note about the rice: use risotto rice like Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano – do not use long grain rice as you will need to first make a risotto and then turn it into arancine.

Mandatory Items: Prepare Arancine from scratch (that includes making your own risotto and filling/s).

Variations allowed:  You can use one of the following recipes or any combination you like. There are also plenty of vegetarian options and if you do not eat eggs, you can use a mix of flour and water (and then breadcrumbs) to coat your arancine.  If you are vegan, this is an easy dish to veganize: fill your arancine with your favorite veggies and /or tomato sauce! I look forward to seeing your creativity at work!

Preparation time:  15 minutes to make risotto; 15 to 60 minutes for the filling (depending on what you fill the arancine with); 45 to 60 minutes for the assembly and a total of 30 minutes for frying (in batches).  This dish can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and then fried just before eating.

Equipment required:

  • Wooden spoons
  • Knives
  • Bowls and plates
  • Colander (for spinach)
  • Cheese grater
  • Cling wrap
  • Baking paper
  • Frying pans
  • Pots

For the challenge, I shared 3 different filling ideas:

Arancine al Ragu’ – Meat Arancine

Arancine al Burro – Cheese Arancine

Arancine agli Spinaci – Arancine with Spinach

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
You can prepare the fillings 1 day before you want to assemble your arancine. You can also assemble your arancine up to 2 days before frying them. Cover them with foil and keep them in the fridge. When you want to eat them, remember to take them out of the fridge a few hours in advance (they need to come back to room temperature) or the inside will remain cold even after frying them.

Additional Information:
Here is a video on how to fill and shape arancine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuZs-YKpjs8

Disclaimer:
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you!

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Here are the pictures and links of my proposed recipes:

ARANCINE AL RAGU’ (click here for the recipe)

1 Arancine 2 (1 of 1) b

ARANCINE AL BURRO (click here for the recipe)

2 Arancine 7 (1 of 1) b

ARANCINE AGLI SPINACI (click here for the recipe)

1 Spinach Arancine 6 (1 of 1) bc

Click here to check out what my fellow Daring Cooks have come up with!

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Comments

  1. says

    The arancine look so gorgeous and delicious. This reminds me, I want to have some again and make some of my own. Maybe I get the chance to try it with spinach in the center.

  2. says

    Dear Manu, finally, I did your amazing recipe, WOW what a flavour, my family love it!!!, I just have a question, you balls look perfect, mine weren´t that cute, did you use something special for frying the arancines??, and what is the perfect size for them??, it was a little difficult to fill them with cheese sauce, Thank you for this amazing challenge. Sorry I could not make it in time.

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