The arancino or arancina is perhaps the most typical example of street food in the Sicilian gastronomic tradition. They are rice balls usually filled with meat sauce and peas and a stringy caciocavallo cheese. Perhaps the most important feature is its crispy, golden-brown crust that hides a soft and tasty heart. You can find them everywhere in the stalls, bars, bakeries and markets. They can be round in shape. This is in Palermo and the western part of Sicily where they are usually called arancina in the singular and arancine in the plural. Predominantly cone-shaped they are in Catania and the eastern part of the island. They are called arancino in the singular and arancini in the plural.
From street to gourmet dish
To taste arancino, I walk to the arancino shop KePalle in Via Maqueda in the centre of Palermo. I meet the owner Danilo Li Muli. He proudly talks about his contemporary culinary showpiece. Danillo: “It is extremely important that you make them crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Good saffron is indispensable because we have to be able to score that beautiful, typical yellow colour every time. The arancina has always been a staple in Sicily and my challenge was to translate a typical street dish into a gourmet product. We make more than 40 varieties and the fillings are seasonal. You can experiment so much with the golden ball, hence our concept of Arancine d’Autore (from the author) to have them prepared in your own taste. The most popular arancini are those with meat sauce and peas. Other variations include with mozzarella and ham or spinach and mozzarella. The arancino alla catanese with aubergines is very tasty and the arancino al pistacchio di Bronte with pistachios from Bronte is also very popular. The variations are enormous. We combine with mushrooms, peppers, artichokes, salmon, chicken, swordfish, seafood, squid, ….. We also have sweet variations such as with cocoa and sugar, with hazelnut paste, with chocolate, ….”
Address: KePalle, Via Maqueda 270, Palermo