Francesco Zaia - CC2.0
The Sicilian arancina is one of the most typical examples of street food from the gastronomic tradition of Sicily. Arancino is a small timbale of stuffed, breaded and fried rice. They are called "arancine" in Palermo and in the western part of Sicily and "arancini" in Catania and in the eastern part of the island. Its origins are much discussed and the various cities of the island compete for paternity; however, the arancino, everywhere in Sicily, is an indispensable delicacy to be enjoyed at any time of the day. The etymology leads us to believe that the name derives from the shape, similar to that of an orange. In fact, in Arab culture, he used to call all types of "meatballs" with the name of the fruit they resembled. The origin of the arancino is linked to the Arab domination (827-1091), which in 200 years brought culture, poetry, arts, beautiful monuments and, in particular, cuisine to the island. In fact, it is certain that the Arabs used to eat the timbale of rice. Breading was probably introduced only during Frederick II's reign of Sicily. After the discovery of the Americas, tomato was also introduced as an ingredient which, over time, was used to prepare ragù, used today as the main ingredient in arancini. The most popular arancini in Sicily are those with meat sauce (with meat sauce, peas and carrots), those with butter (with mozzarella and ham) and those with spinach (also seasoned with mozzarella), while in Catania they are also popular alla catanese (with aubergines) and the one with pistachio from Bronte.