Arancini alla trapanese
Introduction to the recipe
While it naturally has a strong underlying Sicilian character, the cuisine of Trapani is quite different from that which is found on the rest of the island. It is strongly influenced by other Mediterranean cuisines and, in particular, by Arab traditions, with a predilection for seafood over meat. Lobster and the splendid Gambero Rosso di Mazara (red prawn from Mazara), which is home to the greatest fishing fleet in the Mediterranean, are found in numerous recipes. What makes these red prawns special is their unmistakable flavour, which retains the saltiness of the waters in which it is caught. Trapani-style arancini take their flavour from their rich filling of pesto alla trapanese and red prawns, while the rice is cooked in stock made from the prawns themselves: perfect for the most refined of palates.
Ingredients for about 12 arancini
- 500 grams of rice ("Roma" and "Originario" rices, mixed in equal doses)
- 1.1 liter of shrimp 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:
250 grams of red prawns from Mazara
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
250 ml of water
80 grams of toasted almonds
half a glass of white wine
extra virgin olive oil
1 tuft of basil
hot pepper, salt
Preparation of rice and filling
- Clean the red prawns by removing their heads, tails and shells
- Put all of the parts you have removed into a pot with a carrot and half of an onion, fill with water until just covered and cook for about 30 minutes
- Strain the broth and use it to cook the rice
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
It is important to let the rice dry well during cooking. It should not be too hot or too wet, or it could stick to the mold.
For more informations about rice, Click here.
- Sauté the onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil
- Mix the tomato paste into the water until no lumps remain then add it to the pan, letting it simmer over low heat
- Use a food processor to chop and blend the basil, almonds and garlic (remove the cores from the cloves, since they are difficult to digest), adding just enough oil to obtain a smooth consistency
- Add this pesto to the sauce in the pan and allow it to simmer for a few minutes
- Chop the shrimp into small pieces and add it to the sauce
- Add the white wine and simmer over low heat until it has reduced and the sauce has thickened
- Remove the sauce from the heat, add salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper, then let it 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.
Enjoy your arancini!
For a more “luxurious” version of these arancini, you can substitute the red Mazara prawns with Mediterranean lobster.
If you want to give the filling a little extra character, mix a handful of coarsely chopped almonds into it when it has finished cooking. They will give these arancini a tantalising crunch.
- Arancinotto Staff