The Arancina Revisited by Pino Cuttaia

A recipe that reinvents one of the most famous Sicilian street foods. Created by the two Michelin star chef of La Madia Restaurant in Licata, Pino Cuttaia presents rice arancina with fish ragout and wild fennel.

Rice arancina with seafood ragù and wild fennel


Arancina Recipe Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 l of water
  • 500g of Carnaroli rice
  • ½ white onion
  • 2 sachets of saffron
  • 50g of butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil

For the red mullet ragù:

  • 250 g of red mullet
  • 25 g of fennel (net of waste)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 15 g of pine nuts
  • 15 g of black raisins
  • 1 sachet of saffron
  • ½ chopped onion

For the soup

For the red mullet soup:

  • Mullet heads and bones
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 250 g of tomato puree
  • One garlic clove
  • Parsley
  • Salt

For the breadcrumbs:

  • Egg white
  • Stale and toasted bread crumbs


For the ragù

Gently shake the red mullet, then cut off the head and fillet keeping the scraps for the soup. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onion, pine nuts, the chopped tender part of the fennel and the tomato paste. Gently brown everything, stirring, and then add the saffron and the red mullet fillets. Season with salt and pepper, and in a few minutes complete the cooking of the ragout. Leave to cool.

For the rice

Finely chop the onion and let it wilt in a pan with the oil, then add the water, 20 g of salt and the saffron and bring to a boil. At this point, pour the rice into the pan and, stirring, cook until the water has completely evaporated. Remove from the heat, add a pinch of pepper and some chopped butter, and cream the rice; then spread it out on a surface to cool.

For the soup

Dry the bones of the red mullet in a 60°C oven, then fry them in a little hot oil until crispy. Heat a little oil in a pan and brown the garlic clove. When it is golden, add the parsley, the tomato puree and, after a few minutes of slight boiling, add the heads of red mullet and turn off the heat. At this point, filter, add the fried bones, blend everything and, again, filter; finally, adjust the salt to enhance the flavours.

For the arancine

Fill a hemispherical mold with the cold rice, pressing well; make a hollow and fill it with the mullet ragout. Strain it and shape the arancina closing the ragout inside. Brush the arancina with egg white, sprinkle it with breadcrumbs and put it in the oven at 200°C for 10 minutes.


Place the arancina in the center of the plate and pour the soup on the bottom. Garnish with a fried dried mullet tail if desired.

The Arancina Revisited by Pino Cuttaia

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