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The Sicilian arancino

Sicilian Arancine with ragout and peas

… or arancinA? That is the question…

Oh yes, this is the dilemma that has always afflicted us Sicilians. Just as Hamlet doubted “to be or not to be?” so we ask ourselves what is the right name for the Sicilian delicacy: arancinO or arancinA?

In Catania, it is male (masculu è!) and pointed. In Palermo, it is female (fimmina), and it is a ball.

The Accademia della Crusca

In the (vain) attempt to end the long-running dispute, the Accademia della Crusca (it is one of the main points of reference for research on the Italian language) intervened and established that both forms are correct. Okay.

The Oxford English Dictionary instead…

Recently a definition of this famous street food has been given even by the Oxford English Dictionary! We read that the arancini (therefore, they chose the masculine form in the plural) are small balls of rice stuffed with a savory filling, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried, typically served as an appetizer or snack. Now, as a supporter of the arancinO, I am very content with this tribute from the English dictionary, but I am not in agreement with the definition.

MY definition of Sicilian arancino

Arancino with ragout = compacted rice in the shape of a pyramid (pointed, therefore) with a filling of ragout, peas, mozzarella, and, in some areas, boiled egg in small pieces. First covered with beaten egg, then rolled in breadcrumbs, and finally fried.

Arancino with butter = rice ball with mozzarella filling and diced ham. Breadcrumbs. Frying.

Who invented the Sicilian arancino

Guess what the origins of this delicacy seem to be related? To the Arabs, of course! (If you still don’t know it, I inform you that we also owe them the birth of granita and cannolo. Check out the two articles I wrote 😉 ). They used to eat rice and saffron seasoned with herbs and meat. And we thank them!

Ragout and butter are the classic versions, but there are new recipes: with spinach, eggplants, mushrooms, sausage, salmon, swordfish, seafood, cuttlefish ink, and chocolate!

Now, dear reader, I leave you. The deep fryer is waiting for me!

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