Mom’s Recipes

Arancini al Ragù (Risotto Croquettes with Beef Ragù)



10 hours 15 minutes

total time



2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

5/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1 medium onion)

1/2 cup finely chopped celery (from 2 medium celery stalks)

1/4 cup finely chopped carrot (from 1 medium carrot)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup (8 ounces) good-quality dry red wine

2 cups tomato passata (from 1 [24-ounce] bottle)

2 cups beef broth


5 cups chicken or beef stock

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1 small onion)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 cups arborio rice (about 13 1/2 ounces)

1/4 cup (2 ounces) dry white wine

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)


4 ounces caciocavallo or provola Ragusana cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup) (see Note)

1/2 cup cooked English peas

1 cup 00 flour (about 4 ounces)

1 cup water

2 cups plain breadcrumbs

12 cups neutral oil, such as sunflower

Kosher salt, to taste


Sprinkle beef with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high. When the oil is hot, add beef carefully, and cook, turning occasionally, until deeply browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot; work in batches if needed. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl, and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, and pour off any grease. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in onion, celery, carrot, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook over medium, stirring often, until the vegetables are caramelized to deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes. Add red wine, and immediately stir to incorporate. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomato passata and beef broth. Bring to a simmer over medium, add the seared beef, and reduce heat to low. Gently simmer the ragù over low for 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is very soft and fork-tender. Ragù should be quite thick, but if it is reducing too quickly, cover the pot with a lid. Season with salt to taste. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Once cooled, break up the meat into smallish pieces. Measure out 2 cups of ragù; cover and chill for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. (The ragù is best the next day.) Reserve remaining ragù for another use. Make the risotto

Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium; reduce heat to low to keep warm.

Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium until frothy but not browning. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. (No color should develop.) Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until toasted and hot to the touch, about 2 minutes. Stir in white wine, and cook, stirring continuously, until very dry, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Using a ladle, add about 1/2 cup of stock to the rice; stir constantly until the stock reduces to semi-dry. Add another ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of stock; continue cooking and stirring until stock is absorbed. Repeat process, adding stock and stirring constantly, until rice is al dente, 18 to 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste. It should taste good but slightly underseasoned. (Remember, salty cheese will be added later.)

Remove rice from heat; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, taste the doneness of the rice. It should be cooked but not too soft. Fold in Parmigiano and pecorino cheeses. Pour rice onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread into an even layer, and set aside to let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Make the arancini

Place the reserved 2 cups ragù, diced cheese, and peas in separate small bowls. Portion the risotto into 12 (1/2-cup) balls (about 3 1/2 ounces each). Place risotto balls on a clean baking sheet.

In your hand, take 1 of the risotto balls and spread it evenly across your palm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons ragù, about 1 tablespoon cheese (3 to 4 cubes), and about 1 teaspoon peas in the center of the rice. Bring the arancino together by gently cupping your hand with the rice in it. With the opposite hand, close the top, forming a loose round shape the size of a tennis ball. Roll the ball in your hands to make it uniform and compact. Once together and closed, form the ball into a conical shape: Place 1 rice ball in the flattened palm of 1 hand, and, with the other hand, gently twist the ball into a cone until an even shape forms. Place cone back on baking sheet, and repeat with the rest of the rice and filling to make 12 arancini. Chill the arancini in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 1 hour to set.

Set up a dredging station: Whisk together flour and 1 cup water in a medium bowl until smooth. (Mixture should have a heavy cream–like consistency.) Set aside. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dip 1 arancino into the flour mixture, making sure to coat evenly; let excess drip off. Transfer to breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs gently onto the surface of the arancino to ensure it adheres. Return breaded arancino to baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining arancini. Chill the breaded arancini, uncovered, in the refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high to 325°F. When the oil is hot, gently lower 1 arancino at a time into the oil using a slotted spoon. Fry the arancini in batches until crisp and golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from oil, and drain on a paper towel–lined tray. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Allow the arancini to rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot.


Serving Size



29529 kcal

Total Fat

2911 g

Saturated Fat

264 g

Unsaturated Fat

0 g

Trans Fat



1190 mg


13868 mg

Total Carbohydrate

459 g

Dietary Fiber

30 g

Total Sugars

58 g


428 g



10 hours 15 minutes

total time
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