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Arancini ([aranˈtʃiːni]; Arancino in the singular, or Sicilian: arancine) are stuffed rice balls, coated with breadcrumbs, which are fried. They are usually filled with ragù (meat and tomato sauce), mozzarella, and peas. There are a number of regional 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"). In eastern Sicily (especially in Catania), however, arancini have a more conical shape.
In Palermo and Trapani, Sicily, arancini are a traditional food for the feast of Santa Lucia, 13 December, when bread and pasta are not eaten. This commemorates arrival of a grain supply ship on Santa Lucia's day in 1646, relieving a severe famine.
Nowadays, with the increasing popularity of this snack food in modern Italian food culture, arancini are found all year round at most Sicilian food outlets, particularly in Palermo, Messina and Catania.
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 (butter or 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 this has contributed to making this dish known outside of Italy.
- Italian cuisine
- List of Sicilian dishes
- Sicilian cuisine
- Pani ca meusa - another example of Sicilian street food
- "I cugini di Palerma e il sesso degli arancini. Un complesso di inferiorità culinaria". MeridioNews.
- Giuliano Valdes (1 May 2000). Sicilia. Ediz. Inglese (illustrated ed.). Casa Editrice Bonechi. p. 9. ISBN 9788870098266.
- Clifford A. Wright (1 Jan 2003). Little Foods of the Mediterranean: 500 Fabulous Recipes for Antipasti, Tapas, Hors D'Oeuvre, Meze, and More (illustrated ed.). Harvard Common Press. p. 380. ISBN 9781558322271.
- Giuseppina Siotto, Vegetaliana, note di cucina italiana vegetale: La cucina vegetariana e vegana, 2014, ISBN 8868101858, chapter 14
- "Arancini". Texas Monthly. 1 December 1988.
- "I arancini di Montalbano". Rai Uno. 6 July 2015.
- Media related to Arancini at Wikimedia Commons