Arancini are thought to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century.

In Palermo, Syracuse and Trapani, arancini are a traditional food for the feast of Saint Lucia on December 13th when bread and pasta are not eaten. This commemorates the arrival of wheat on Saint Lucia’s day in 1646, reducing a severe famine. While in the village of Ficarazzi in the province of Catania there’s been a special “Arancino Festival” every September for 19 years so far.

Arancini are widely sold and are found everywhere especially in Catania, Palermo and Messina. At first they were created to feed Frederick II of Swabia after his hunting has been officially recognized and included in the list of traditional Italian agri-food products of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies with the name of “rice arancini”.

Arancino (for the east coast fo Sicily) or Arancina (for the west coast) is a ball or cone of breaded and fried rice, with a diameter of 8-10 cm, generally stuffed with ragù, peas and caciocavallo, or diced ham and mozzarella. The name derives from the original shape and the typical golden color, reminiscent of an orange, but it must be said that in eastern Sicily the arancini more often have a traditional conical shape, to symbolize the Etna volcano.


Put the rice in the hot, salty water. Add the saffron, eggs, butter, grated pecorino and allow to cool.

Cook the peas and onion with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the minced meat and leave to cook. Then season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato sauce and cook for at least 20 minutes over medium heat, then add the peas and let the sauce thicken.

Form a ball with the rice, add a spoonful of sauce and two of caciocavallo and close with more rice. Then put the balls in the flour, in the beaten egg, and fry them in boiling oil until golden brown.

Now enjoy your arancino!

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