Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Arancini with Mariann and Diandra

Today I had a fabulous day with my goomara, (Italian slang for really good friend)  Mariann and her daughter Diandra.
 Mariann and I have been friends since we were in grade school at East Memorial, in Farmingdale, New York. I say we met when we were in Kindergarten, Mare say's it was First grade. She has recently found pictures of herself while in Italy in uniform attending Kindergarten, so I stand corrected. We've been friends since 1st grade. In any case, that's 45 + years.  I could write pages about our friendship and try to describe Mariann's inner and outer beauty and I wouldn't come close to doing justice to her, or our friendship...Mariann I love you!!! I'll just move on to the tradition of the Arancini!
When ever there was a major event or any special occasion, Mariann's mother, Concetta and her Aunt Gina would get busy in the kitchen. These two tiny woman with huge personality and cooking talent were amazing!  They would make hundreds of these rice balls, Arancini, for any special occasion especially at Christmas and then turn around and make another 100 for New Year's Day. If there was a party there was always a huge platter of Arancini. I was never disappointed, and I always looked for them.
They never tired of cooking for their loved ones and extended family. I am so blessed to be one of many of the beneficiaries of the extended family!

The first thing you have to do is make a sauce of peas, chop meat, onion, garlic and tomatoes. Mariann sauteed 12 pounds of chop meat to make this recipe, which I have to say made a gigunta amount of sauce. Most people are not going to make 100 Arancini, so most people don't need that much sauce. We didn't need that much sauce!
I would start with one onion, chopped a clove or two of garlic chopped and saute them in a little olive oil in a large pan. Add your chop meat, crumbling it as you add it to the cooking onion and garlic and cook until your meat gets browned. Remove excess oil and add tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and bay leaf, a nice bunch will do. Let the sauce start to simmer and add sweet peas (one bag of frozen) and a little romano cheese.
Let your sauce cool.

Step 2
Make the rice. Mariann likes Carolina brand rice for this recipe. She used one medium size bag of rice and cooked it according to the directions on the bag. It's a sticky kind of rice. Let the rice cool at room temperature, or at least so you can handle it.  Once the rice cooled Mariann added Parmesan Cheese, Romano Cheese, salt, pepper, a little chopped parsley and a few whole eggs and mixed it all together. Once she got the taste and the texture she wanted it was time to start making them into delicious orbs better known as Arancini.

Diandra is the master at making the Arancini. She has sculptors hands and has a magic way of working the rice in her hands while filling them, and I mean filling them up with the meat and pea sauce!

Once we all started to help Diandra we had a few made and into the deep fryer they went.

After 2 - 3 minutes we checked on them, and when they had a beautiful golden color we took them out of the fryer and let them sit.

The first few we made came out huge. The more we made the more uniform in size they became, but not without a few's always about size, isn't it? lol And to Mariann's surprise I had a little trick up my sleeve.

I know each time we make something we always say, these are the best ever! Take a look at the inside of this baby! Doesn't this just look delicious? YUMMM!

I hope you get an idea from this on how to make an Arancini.  Good luck and email me, or leave a comment and I'll get back to you and assist you in any way I can.

There are hundreds of recipes out there on the internet for Arancini.  Each one is different and I'm sure delicious. It's fun to try all new recipes and then decide which one you like best.

Thanks for visiting me today. This post was a little different with all the videos added, and may be a little discombobulated. Please be patient with me during my growing pains!

Buon Appetito


  1. Oh Lorraine, Mariann, and Diandra "D" guys are masters, not to mention plain fun! I have always wanted to make these for my husband and never ever tried. Now I will attempt to create these Arancini's after the new year. I could almost smell the "fixins" while I read and watched your video! Yummm is right - now if only I could sample! Too bad I'm in NC or I'd probably find my way to your house girls. Thank you so very much! Stay close, and keep cookin'! Love, Donna

  2. You ladies had a blast ha? thats awesome...I've never seen so much meat in one arancino in my life! Looks delish

  3. Just one more thing I have to try. I enjoy listening to you ladies. It takes me back to the days when my Mother, aunt and cousins would get together and make hundreds of meatballs or hundreds of Pierogi. What do you mean when you say chopped meat?