Arancini alla Norma is just one variation of the myriad ways arancini can be prepared, and uses a filling made from eggplant and tomatoes as opposed to the more commonplace filling of ragù.
It is a meatless option that will easily win over everyone, carnivores and vegetarians alike.
Makes 12 arancini
- 1 envelope of saffron
- 1 oz butter
- 18 oz of rice
- 5 cup of vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 medium size eggplants, diced
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup of hard ricotta
- 7 oz of mozzarella, drained and diced
- 5 cup of water
- 1½ cup flour
- Bread crumbs
- Oil for frying
About an hour ahead of preparation, sprinkle salt evenly on the diced eggplant to remove any bitterness and draw some of the liquid out.
Cook the rice by bringing the broth to a boil in a pan with the saffron, add the rice and cook over medium heat until the broth is completely absorbed.
Turn off the heat and stir in the butter.
Let the rice cool for a couple of hours, then stir in the grated parmesan, season with salt as needed.
Prepare the filling: heat a large pan with some oil on medium heat and sauté the eggplant until lightly golden.
Add the tomato paste to the pan to heat through, then remove pan from heat.
Stir in the hard ricotta.
Now you can shape the arancini: take a couple of tablespoons of rice in your palm, add a heaped spoonful of filling, add a couple of cubes of mozzarella, and enclose the filling completely adding more rice as needed.
Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and water.
Place the breadcrumbs nearby in a separate bowl.
Heat the oil in a deep pan, and when ready, roll the rice balls in the flour mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs and fry for a few minutes until golden brown.
Drain the arancini on paper towels, and serve warm.
Source and picture San Pellegrino