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Academia Barilla Parmigiano Reggiano
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(Arangeen’ ~ Rice Balls)
The Sopranos Family Cookbook:
As Compiled by Artie Bucco
Allen Rucker, Michele Scicolone, 2002, Warner Books
From Chapter Five “Mia Cucina”, by Artie Bucco
“Cooking, needless to say, is my life, but it wasn’t always that way.
Having been raised in a family of restaurateurs, I rebelled in high
school and couldn’t
the sight of spaghetti. I committed myself
to a strict diet of chili
burgers and Slim Jims. My dream was to move
to Los Angeles and play electric
bass for the heavy metal band
‘Judas Priest’. I got as far as Pittsburgh and ran
out of money.
I was hungry for some manicott’.”
For the Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
8 ounces ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped canned Italian
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
For the Rice
5 cups chicken broth [or
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 cups (1 pound) medium-grain rice,
such as Arborio
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
2 cups plain bread crumbs
Flour for dredging
4 ounces sharp provolone,
cut into small dice
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
To make the filling, put the oil, onion and garlic in a
medium skillet, turn
on the heat to medium, and cook until the onion is soft,
about 5 minutes.
Add the beef to the skillet and cook, stirring to break up the lumps, until
lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and salt and pep-
taste. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring
occasionally, until thick, about 30 minutes.
Add the peas and cook
5 minutes more. Let cool.
To make the rice, bring the broth and saffron to a boil in a large pot.
in the rice, butter, and salt to taste. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and
cook until the rice is tender, about 18 minutes.
Remove the rice from the
heat and stir in the cheeses. Let cool slightly, then
stir in the egg yolks.
To assemble, beat the egg whites in a shallow bowl until foamy. Spread
the bread crumbs on one sheet of wax paper and the flour on another.
cake rack over a baking sheet.
Dip your hands in cool water, to prevent the rice from sticking. Scoop
1/3 cup of the rice mixture and place it in the palm of one hand.
Poke a shallow
hole in the center of the rice. Press about 1 tablespoon of
the filling into the
hole and top it with a piece of provolone. Cup your hand
slightly, molding the
rice over the filling to enclose it completely. Add a little more rice if
necessary to cover the filling completely. Add a little more rice
to cover the filling completely. Very gently squeeze the ball together to
compact the rice.
Carefully roll the rice ball in the flour, then in the egg whites to coat it
completely. Roll the ball in the bread crumbs, being sure not to leave any spots
uncovered. Place the rice ball on the cake rack to dry. Continue
making rice balls with the remaining ingredients, rinsing your hands be-
each. When all of the rice balls have been made, place the rack
refrigerator for 30 minutes to dry.
Pour about 3 inches of oil into an electric deep-fryer or a deep heavy saucepan.
Heat the oil until the temperature reaches 375 degrees F on a
deep-frying thermometer, or a drop of egg white sizzle when it is added
oil. With a slotted spoon or skimmer, lower a few rice balls at a
time into the
hot oil; do not crowd the pan. Cook until golden brown
and crisp all
over, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the rice balls to paper towels
to drain. Keep the
cooked rice balls warm in a low oven while you fry
Serve hot or warm.
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