In many Catholic Italian families, tradition tells us that December 13th is the Feast of Saint Lucy. (Santa Lucia) Saint Lucy was born in the year 283 of nobility and wealth in Syracuse, (Sicily) Italy. She was a young girl who vowed to live a chaste life because of her love and devotion to Christ. Her mother arranged a marriage for her to a pagan suitor. Lucy’s suitor, had other plans, and revealed Lucy as a Christian. The authorities went to arrest her and planned on forcing her into prostitution. Because she did not surrender she was further tortured by having her eyes torn out. As the authorities tried burning her by fire, the flames would just diminish, and was killed by being stabbed in the throat with a dagger in the year 304. The legend concludes that God restored her eyes.
The Swedish have special traditions for the feast of St. Lucy as well. The oldest daughter of a family will wake up before dawn on St. Lucy’s Day and dress in a white gown for purity, often with a red sash as a sign of St. Lucy’s death. On her head she wears a crown of evergreens with four to nine candles that are lit. She is often accompanied by “star children,” her small brothers or sisters are dressed in white with cone-shaped hats that are decorated with gold stars, and carrying star-tipped wands. “St Lucy” and her “star children” will wake up the rest of her family. She then serves them coffee, and a traditional pastry called Lussekatter. (saffron buns or as they are sometimes called Lucy Cats, made in the “S” shape, like a cat with raisins or currants that are made to look like eyes)
|Arancini di Siciliani|
One cup of Arborio rice
3 Large eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup of diced mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup diced prosciutto (about 2 oz.)
3 tablespoons of finely minced fresh parsley
2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of homemade tomato sauce
Peanut or vegetable oil for deep frying
In a saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 15 minutes. The rice should be quite firm. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
Lightly beat one of the eggs and add to the rice, along with the grated cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix the mozzarella cheese and the prosciutto.
With floured hands, divide the mixture into 8 to 10 portions and roll each portion into a ball the size of a small orange. Poke a hole into the center of each ball with your finger and inset about 1 tablespoon of the mozzarella mixture. Reshape and smooth the balls to enclose the filling.
In a shallow dish beat the remaining 2 eggs. Spread the bread crumbs and the flour on separate plates. Dip the rice balls in the flour, egg, and the breadcrumbs to coat them evenly. Then refrigerate them for about 30 minutes.
In a deep fryer or a deep heavy pan, heat the oil to 375 ° F. Fry the rice balls until they are golden brown on all sides. Drain them on brown paper or paper towels and serve immediately, with fresh tomato sauce. As you eat them, you can see the mozzarella strings stretch out like telephone wires. So delicious and yummy.
Till Next Time…………..
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