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Arancine from Palermo
Arancine from Palermo, Italy (North Sicily)

Arancini or arancine are fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century. Arancini are usually filled with ragù (meat sauce), tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings and shape. The name derives from the food's shape and color, which is reminiscent of an orange (the Italian word for orange is arancia, and arancina means "little orange").

The main type of arancino sold in Sicilian cafes are arancini con ragù, which typically consist of meat in a tomato sauce, rice, and mozzarella. Many cafes also offer arancini con burro (béchamel sauce), or specialty arancini, such as arancini con funghi (mushrooms), con pistacchi (pistachios), or con melanzane (aubergine (eggplant)).

The arancini are considered a typical dish of the city of Messina, where they usually have a conic form.[citation needed]

In Roman cuisine, supplì are similar, but commonly filled with cheese. In Naples, rice balls are called pall'e riso (rice balls).

In popular culture[edit]

In Italian literature, Inspector Montalbano, the main character of Andrea Camilleri's novels, is a well-known lover of arancini and he has contributed to making this dish known outside of Italy.

See also[edit]