Good God, Adelina’s arancini! He’d tasted them only once – but the memory had surely entered his DNA.Montalbano’s first case and other stories, Andrea Camilleri
Inspector Montalbano is one of the most beloved characters of contemporary Italian literature, as well as of tv series, so much so that Camilleri’s novels have been translated into many languages.
But a translation, unfortunately, can’t render the idea of sicilianità given by Camilleri’s peculiar way of writing, a mix of Sicilian dialect and Italian Language, rich of dialogues and Sicilian expressions which sometimes are difficult to understand even by an Italian.
When you read Camilleri’s novels, you almost “hear his voice”, his cadence, his way of speaking. He had an extraordinary sensitivity in choosing the right words at the right time.
The story from which this recipe is taken is entitled “Montalbano’s rice fritters” (Gli arancini di Montalbano) and it is part of a collection of short stories, “Montalbano’s first case and other stories”, translated by Stephen Sartarelli and published by Penguin.
Montalbano’s stories are rich in references to food. The Inspector appreciates good food, especially when prepared by his maid, Adelina. Here she invites Montalbano to her house for New Year’s eve.
Adelina had two delinquent sons who were always in and out of jail. It was a lucky conjunction, as rare as Halley’s comet, that they were both out at the same time. One to be solemnly celebrated, therefore, with arancini. […] There was no doubt in Montalbano’s mind as to whom he should dine with on New Year’s eve. Only one question still nugged him before he fell asleep: would both of Adelina’s delinquent sons manage to stay out of jail until the following day?Montalbano’s first case and other stories, Andrea Camilleri
Montalbano’s arancini (rice fritters)
- 200 g bullock meat
- 200 g pork
- 1 onion
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 stalk cellery
- parsley and basil
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 500 g rice
- 1 onion
- olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg whites
- Bread crumbs
- 100 gr salami
- 200 gr cooked peas
- .Chop the onion, the cellery, parsley and basil
- Put the mixture in a pan with olive oil and make a soffritto.
- Add the meat and let it brown.
- Then add the peeled and chopped tomatoes and let cook on a low heat, covered with a lid, for at least 1 hour and a half.
- Chop an onion and put it in a pan with olive oil.
- Brown the onion and then add the rice
- Stir for a couple of minutes and then add enough stock to properly cook the rice.
- Spread the risotto out on a table.
- Fold in two eggs and let it cool.
- Chop the meat.
- Add to the meat the cooked peas and the chopped salami.
- Add enough besciamél to the meat stew to make it creamy.
- Take a bit of risotto wedge it into your cupped hand and put a spoonful of stew filling and cover it with more rice, forming a ball.
- Roll it around in flour, then in egg white and finally in bread crumbs.
- Fry them in oil until they're golden.
Adelina aveva due figli delinquenti che trasivano e niscivano dal carzaro: una felice combinazione, rara come a comparsa della cometa di Halley, che si trovassero tutti e due contemporaneamente in libertà. E dunque da festeggiare sullennemente con gli arancini.Gli Arancini di Montalbano, Andrea Camilleri
Gesù, gli arancini di Adelina! Li aveva assaggiati solo una volta: un ricordo che sicuramente gli era trasuto nel Dna, nel patrimonio genetico.