Sicilian recipes – How to make arancina ‘al burro’


Today is Arancina Day (or Santa Lucia), so here’s the recipe to celebrate this glorious day like a real Sicilian.

Before we start, there are three quick facts about arancina you definitely need to know:

  1. The name arancina literally means ‘little orange’, as you can tell from the shape, colour and texture.
  2. The two traditional types of arancina are ‘con carne’ (with meat) and ‘al burro’ (with butter), but you’ll find plenty of other less conventional stuffings available when travelling to Sicily.
  3. As you’ll see from the recipe below, the arancina ‘al burro’ is not actually made with butter, but with ham and cheese. Go figure!

Enjoy the recipe and show me a picture of your arancina by tagging @secret_sicily on Instagram.

Ingredients for about 10-15 arancine (depending on how big you like them)

For the risotto:

  • Arborio or Carnaroli rice 1kg
  • Onion, carrots, celery (risotto sauté mix)
  • Olive oil 2, tablespoons
  • Butter, 40g
  • Vegetable stock, one or 2 cubes
  • Saffron
  • Salt and pepper

For the stuffing:

  • Bechamel sauce (1 litre of milk, 100g butter, 100g flour, a pinch of nutmeg and salt)
  • Mozzarella, a lot!
  • Ham, about 200g
  • Another mild cheese of your choice (optional)
  • Peas (optional)

Batter and frying

  • 2 eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Sunflower oil 1 litre


1. First up, you want to prepare risotto and let it cool down for about two hours. Here’s a quick video to show you how to make saffron risotto (or, as they call it, risotto alla milanese).


2. Then, you prepare the bechamel sauce:


3. Finally, you stuff your rice balls. Grab a fistful of risotto with your hand and shape it into a half ball. Add the fillings in the centre, cover with another fistful of risotto and shape it into a full round ball. Run through an egg wash and cover with breadcrumbs.


4. Heat the oil until very, very hot and deep fry your arancine until golden. Serve at medium temperature and eat at least four of them!

Till the next one!

 Feratured photo by: Manuela Zangara

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