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How to turn creamy risotto into the crispiest arancini ever

On "Saucy," Anthony Contrino gets inspired by his grandmother's Sicilian roots to make arancini and a blood orange cocktail.
/ Source: TODAY

On TODAY All Day's "Saucy," Anthony Contrino shares recipes inspired by his Sicilian grandmother. With Anthony's beloved "gram" hailing from Palermo, the region's cultural center, the chef knows his way around its traditional dishes. He demonstrates how to make a creamy risotto, then makes arancini (Sicily's iconic fried rice balls). Next, he demonstrates his go-to tomato sauce. For a refreshing beverage, he mixes up a blood orange cocktail that captures summertime in Italy.

Creamy Risotto

Risotto is one of those things I cook when I’m feeling extra bougie and it always impresses at a dinner party. I prefer a simple risotto — and by simple, I mean bursting with creaminess, sweet shallots, salt cheese and wine. This versatile recipe can also be doctored up with sauteed mushrooms or roasted veggies.

A Sicilian street food staple, these crispy fried rice balls oozing with mozzarella are one of my favorite things in the world. I like a simple mozzarella-filled ball, but you can use mushroom risotto or add some meat sauce and cooked peas to the center for a heartier arancini.

Everyday Tomato Sauce

Not only is this sauce delicious when tossed with pasta, it can be used on pizza, served with mozzarella sticks or transformed into a creamy vodka sauce.

I’m all about refreshing, summery cocktails and this one with dry white wine, juicy blood orange and blood orange soda hits the nail on the head. When garnished with a pretty sprig of rosemary and a slice of scarlet citrus, it’s the perfect welcome drink at a dinner party.