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Arancini, or arancine in Sicilian, are stuffed rice balls which are coated with breadcrumbs and fried. They are said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century during Kalbid rule. Arancini are usually filled with ragù (meat sauce), tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings and shape. The name derives from their shape and color, which is reminiscent of an orange (the Italian word for orange is arancia, and arancina means "little orange"), although in eastern Sicily, arancini have a more conical shape.
Ingredients and variations
The main type of arancino sold in Sicilian cafes are arancini con ragù, which typically consist of meat in a tomato sauce, rice, and mozzarella. Many cafes also offer arancini con burro (béchamel sauce), or specialty arancini, such as arancini con funghi (mushrooms), con pistacchi (pistachios), or con melanzane (aubergine).
In popular culture
In Italian literature, Inspector Montalbano, the main character of Andrea Camilleri's detective novels, is a well-known lover of arancini and he has contributed to making this dish known outside of Italy.
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