Arancine (Sicilian Rice Balls)

Without a doubt, the regional snacks of Sicily are arancine or arancini. These are deep-fried balls of rice, stuffed most often with a ragù (meat sauce) and peas, but also with other stuffings such as cheese. Arancini are everywhere in Sicily, and we liked them so much that we had them for lunch almost every day during our trip.

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Arancini for lunch in Monreale (near Palermo)

Arancini have been named after oranges (arancie), because they look so much like them. In the West of Sicily they have a round shape and are female  (1 arancina, 2 arancine), whereas in the East of Sicily they are pear-shaped and are male (1 arancino, 2 arancini). This could mean that the eastern name is more ‘Sicilian’, because oranges are male in Sicilian (arànciu) contrary to female in Italian (arancia). I entitled this post arancine because I made round ones, but I like the sound of arancini better so that’s how I’ll call them.

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Looking inside: rice, ragù and peas

After coming home, arancini were high on my list of Sicilian delicacies to prepare. They turned out to be relatively easy to make and very good. When we had arancini for lunch in Sicily, they had been lying in a display case for a while and were heated up in a microwave oven. This has an advantage that the flavors have the opportunity to blend, but the crust is not crispy. My homemade arancini were freshly deep-fried and thus very crispy. Next time I’ll make them earlier to allow the flavors to blend before deep-frying them. But even deep-fried straight away they were delicious! Continue reading “Arancine (Sicilian Rice Balls)”

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