Pompeii is wonderful. Situated between Naples and Salerno, it is a Roman city completely destroyed and buried in ash from an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in August 79AD. For me Pompeii transcends time.
Preserved by the ash, the site brings alive how life was for Romans in that time. Walk around the site and you will see ruins of Roman villas, amphitheatres, schools, shops and temples of worship. Along the road from the entrance to the museum are many market stalls selling pumice stones, lava rocks and an abundance of food.
One snack which was introduced to me by my cousin Maria in Pompeii, was Arancini di Riso. Originally from Sicily, the snack was given this name because they look like small oranges, however, they are really made out of rice and minced beef. Eat them hot or cold, but most of all enjoy with a glass of Aperol Spritz.
Makes 20 balls
340g (12oz) minced beef * portion of Neapolitan Sauce (see Pizzette Margherita) * 795g (1¾lb) arborio rice * 6 eggs * 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley * 115g (4oz) hard pecorino cheese, grated * 140g (5oz) soft caciocavallo cheese, cut into cubes (or Provolone) * salt & pepper * flour for dusting * dried breadcrumbs for coating * olive oil for deep-frying
Cook the minced beef in the tomato sauce for 30 minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste. Cook the rice in lightly salted boiling water for 12 minutes only, then drain. Let it cool completely. Beat 4 of the eggs in a large mixing bowl with parsley and pecorino cheese. Mix thoroughly with the rice.
Take some of the mixture in the palm of your hand. Put a small amount of the meat sauce and the caciocavallo cheese in the centre. Close your hand and seal with some more rice making a small ‘orange’. Repeat and make more balls.
Beat together the remaining 2 eggs. Roll the balls in flour and then the egg followed by the breadcrumbs. Deep-fry in olive oil for about five minutes, until golden brown. Eat hot or cold.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.