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La Belle Cuisine - More Appetizer Recipes

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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith."


Artie Bucco's Arancini (Rice Balls)

"...A paisan without food is like Cecilia Bartoli without a song.
Why get up in the morning?”

~ Artie Bucco, 'The Sopranos'

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The Sopranos
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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 stand 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.
And I was hungry for some manicott’.”

Makes 18

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
peeled tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas

For the Rice
5 cups chicken broth [or stock]
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

To Assemble
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-
per to 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. Stir
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.
Place a cake rack over a baking sheet.
Dip your hands in cool water, to prevent the rice from sticking. Scoop
up about 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
if necessary 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-
tween each. When all of the rice balls have been made, place the rack
in the 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
to the 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
the remainder. Serve hot or warm.


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