"Arancini", Italian for 'little oranges', is an original Italian dish. It originated in Sicily which is the main orange producing region in Italy. Arancini are widely used throughout Italy as an appetizer, pasta dish, finger food and even in bars as a "stuzzichino" or little snack. Our chef is very familiar with different styles of arancini and decided to put a twist on the recipe and introduce it as a brunch item. Our customers at Uva (on NYC's Upper East Side) love it as it is as filling as any lunch dish and sweet and delicate enough for a breakfast dish. Concord grapes are widely produced in Friuli, where our chef is from and where they're referred to as 'Uva Americana' or "American grapes". The concord grape jelly was chosen because the grape is a perfect complement to the aromatic arancini.
For the risotto
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 Orange peel, grated
- 1/2 Pinch of salt
- 1 clove
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 Small bay leaf
- 1/2 Pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Italian rice (preferably "vialone nano" or "arborio" rice)
- 1/2 ounce butter
For the breading
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 whole eggs whipped
- 1 cup dry cookie crumbs
For frying the arancini
- 2 cup grapeseed oil
For assembling the dish
- 4 tablespoon whipped concord grape jelly
- 9 chopped, unsalted pistachios
- 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar
- Put all the ingredients in a small pot (except the rice and the butter), turn on the heat and bring to a boil.
- Add the rice and cook stirring frequently until a creamy risotto-like consistency is formed.
- Remove from the heat, add the butter and mix until it is completely absorbed and then transfer to a cooking tray and spread evenly, allowing for it to cool down.
- Pick up a small quantity of risotto and roll it between the palms of your hands creating a small ball.
- Repeat until all the rice has been used and 8 equal size balls have been made.
- Place the 3 ingredients in 3 separate bowls.
- Roll the arancini in the flour, then one by one into the egg and finally in the cookie crumbs.
- Transfer onto a plate and set aside.
- In a 10" frying pan warm up the oil.
- Place in the arancini and cook them until they reach a light brown color.
- Using 2 fairly narrow, rectangular plates, put 4 drops of jelly in the center of each plate, equidistant from one another.
- Place one arancino over each drop then put a drop of jelly on top of each arancino.
- Sprinkle the chopped pistachios on the arancini, making them stick to the jelly, and finish with a sprinkle of confectioners sugar.
- Use the left over jelly to garnish the dish, making 2 parallel lines on each side of the arancini.
Claudio Meneghini comes from Nimis, a vine production area on the hills of Friuli in North East Italy. He is the chef/co-proprietor at Uva, a rustic Italian restaurant and wine bar on NYC's Upper East Side. Uva is owned and operated by the Lusardi family. Co-owner Massimo Lusardi says, "people have really embraced our brunch and enjoy our combination of classical American and Italian breakfast dishes, especially the sweet rice arancini."