Arancino, or arancina

Arancino, or arancina This is a complex problem that has required the involvement of passionate cooks, fine linguists, and many gourmands over centuries. Regardless of the disagreement, everyone agrees that this icon of Sicilian streetfood tastes great. The arancino, or arancina, is perfectly crispy with hot filling.

They are called arancini in Northern Italy. Perhaps because Andrea Camilleri wrote Gli arancini di Montalbano. The Inspector from Vigata is greedy, particularly if Adelina prepares them.

Some believe arancina is the correct name. This is because the shape of the fried and breaded rice balls reminds one of an orange (in Italian, “arancia”) The name for orange in Sicilian dialect is Aranciu, which is masculine. Therefore, there is still some doubt.

So the island is divided into two “schools” of thought: Western Sicily, Eastern Sicily: Arancino

Let’s not forget this etymological disagreement. We should all continue to venerating this product.

Due to the presence of saffron, the origin of this product dates back to the Arab or early medieval ages. An old tale tells of a distinguished Sicilian who considered breading a simple way to preserve rice and bring it along on long hunting trips. Frederick II of Svevia, who loved Palermo but was forced to travel because of Christianity, often traveled with the crispy arancini.

It is a big risk to claim the origins of the Arancino/Arancina. Every city in Sicily has claimed its origin. Catania is one example of a city that claims to have given birth to the goodie. The pointed cone looks like Mount Etna’s cone, which was filled with delicious lava. Palermo and the surrounding areas celebrate the December 13 day of arancina/arancino. This day is also the feast Saint Lucia. The cuccia is the traditional dessert of boiled wheat, ricotta and peas. There are many variations of arancini today. The classic one has stewed pork sauce (meat sauce), peas or butter and bechamel. The more inventive ones have pistachios and sepia. Or you can add Norma cheese from Enna and ricotta. There are sweet versions for children that have a smaller, rounder shape and are filled with chocolate or cream. These sweet, fried arancines are delicious when rolled in sugar and cinnamon.

These are the best traditional recipes.

Rice Arancine with Ragu Sauce


For 20-22 arancine

  • Special rice for arancine or flans is now available in shops.
  • Three litres of beef or vegetable stock
  • 100g butter
  • 1 onion
  • 2 saffron powder packets
  • 200 g caciocavallo cheese chopped into chunks
  • Flour
  • 2 eggs whites and 1 egg yolk
  • Breadcrumb
  • Olive oil

Method (for rice):

Make the stock and then add the saffron. Sauté the onion in butter, but do not let it brown. Stir in the rice and hot stock. Turn off the heat and cook the rice until it is cooked. Let it cool on a plate. Cook the risotto for 12 hours before adding the arancine.

Ingredients for the meat ragu

  • 400g minced beef
  • 100g tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 200g peas
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Half a glass of white wine

Method for the meat ragu:

Brown the onions, then add the minced beef. Reduce the wine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then, add the tomato paste and a little water. Set aside the peas and add them to your cold meat ragu.

Method (for the arancine).

Put a tablespoon of rice in your palm and flatten it into a disc. Place a tablespoon of ragu on top of the rice and then add a piece of caciocavallo. Add another tablespoon of rice to the filling. Cover it with rice and press it gently to form a ball. Once the filling is covered, roll the ball in flour. Next, dip it in egg and then in breadcrumbs. Once the arancine is prepared, heat a lot of oil to fry it until it turns golden.

Rice butter Arancine

The arancina “with butter”, a variant of the traditional arancina (which has a conical form), is another variation. It is prepared the same. Its filling is what makes it different.

  • 300g shredded Ham
  • 400 gr smooth cheese in chunks
  • 500g thick, rich bechamel sauce with nutmeg

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