Serves 15-20, depending on size
Meat Ragú Filling:
For the Assembly and Cooking:
Process Prep rice: Stir in ½ package saffron powder to 5 cups of boiling water in a saucepan. Stir in the 2 cups of rice, return the water to a boil, then adjust the heat to simmering. Cook the rice uncovered, until al dente, about 12-16 minutes. Drain the rice and spread out on a tray to cool to room temperature.
Rag ú filling: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the 1 clove of minced garlic and ½ of a chopped onion sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the 1 pound of ground beef and stir into the onions and garlic. Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned.
*TIP: Use a ladle to remove any excessive fat from meat before adding tomato sauce or paste. Stir in the 2 tbsp tomato paste and 1½ cups of left over homemade bolognese or marinara sauce and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 min. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. The finished Ragú should be dense and reduced. Remove and cool to room temperature.
Peas for filling: In another saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add ¼ of a chopped onion sweat over medium heat until the onions are translucent and soft, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of Frozen Peas to your cooked onions, add salt and pepper for flavor, and cook till peas are bright green, about 10-15 mins. Remove from heat. For the assembly and cooking: When the rice is cool, gather it into a mixing bowl and beat in the 4 eggs and the 2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, salt, and pepper.
*TIP: Make sure texture of mixture is sticky and not too wet or the rice balls will not form correctly. If you find the mixture to be too moist, add more grated cheese to help bind the rice. Create an assembly line of your ingredients with a bowl of your rice mixture, a bowl of your cooled down Ragú "meat filling," cooked peas in bowl, 1 carton of 8 ounces each fresh mozzarella cheese pearls, drained, a tray of 4 cups of breadcrumbs and an empty baking sheet nearby as you create your Arancini-building assembly line.
*TIP: Be sure to have a bowl of vegetable oil nearby to dip your hands in between the building of each of the rice balls. Dip hands into vegetable oil and grab a scoopful of the rice mixture into the palm of your hand, make an indent in the center, and fill it with 1 tsp of the meat filling, some peas, and one small piece of the mozzarella. Mold the rice balls around the filling. (If i'ts too sticky, wet your hands with a little vegetable oil.) Once molded into a ball, be sure to press and compact the rice ball firmly. Next, gently place the rice ball into the breadcrumbs and coat the whole rice ball with breadcrumbs. Place the coated rice balls on the baking sheet and pop them in the fridge for about an hour to make sure they are nice and firm.
*TIP: If the rice balls are not firm, they will break apart while cooking! Fill a large pot or a deep fryer with about 3 inches of oil and heat up over medium heat to 375º. Fry the rice balls in the hot oil for about 5 to 6 minutes; transfer them on a paper towel lined platter to drain the excess oil.
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