3 cups short-grain rice
1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine
1/4 cup oil, plus oil for deep-frying
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
6 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1 tablespoon dry steak seasoning (Texjoy)
2 teaspoons each of oregano and sweet basil
10 ounces break crumbs
3 eggs, beaten

Add rice to 7 cups salted water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat, and cook about 25 minutes or until rice is slightly gummy. Remove from heat, drain if necessary, and add margarine. Let cool.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet. Brown meat, then add onion, celery, and garlic. Reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes. Add chili powder, tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup water. Simmer until liquid is reduced, about 1 hour; mixture should be moist but not soupy. Add Parmesan, salt, pepper, and half the parsley. Let cool.

Place about 2 tablespoons rice in cupped palm of hand. Add 1 tablespoon meat mixture to center of rice. Mold rice around meat, and shape arancinis into firm balls. Chill thoroughly.

Combine remaining ingredients, except eggs. Dip rice balls in eggs, then in crumb mixture. Let stand in refrigerator at least 2 hours.

Put enough oil to cover rice balls in saucepan or deep fryer. Heat to 350 degrees. Fry 2 to 3 arancini at a time, cooking until crispy and golden orange. Serve immediately.

From “Ciao Down for Christmas,” originally featured in Domain, Winter 1988