Italian street food part 1: Arancini!

A lot of street food for you to find out!

All over the world, Italy is a “celebrity” for its food. Yet, Italian chefs’ great mastery in combining ingredients to make tasty and refined dishes doesn’t only show in restaurants. Tasting your favourite street food while calmly walking on the streets worth it a lot either.

Everywhere you are in Italy, you can always taste regional typical street food. Multiply about 3 types of it by each region (they are 20) and see to what extent your curiosity for Italian gastronomy may be satisfied (and perhaps, your stomach too, if only you were giants…).

Just to name a few, you can have: 

  • crepes in Aosta Valley;
  • miacce in Piedmont; 
  • Weisswurst in Trentino;
  • cichèti in Veneto;
  • frico in Friuli Venezia Giulia;
  • farinata in Liguria;
  • fried gnocco in Emilia Romagna.


  • arrosticini in Abruzzo;
  • panzerotto in Puglia;
  • crocchè in Campania;
  • crespelle in Calabria, and, as for the isles, ...
  • seadas in Sardinia
  • arancini in Sicily.

The famous sicilian arancini

As for these last ones, all over Sicily you can taste arancini, these little stuffed rice balls, coated with breadcrumbs and then fried. They are so called because of their small orange-like shape, even though the “drop” shape is also common.

It’s possible to date them back to the ancient Middle Ages and, in particular, to the Arab domination in Sicily, since saffron is used to make them. Arancini were and still are filled with ragù (Bolognese sauce), peas and mozzarella, which is the classical filling. Later, new ingredients were used to meet different tastes and now there are: arancini al burro, where rice is seasoned with butter only; arancino al prosciutto, with butter or béchamel sauce and filled with ham and mozzarella. 


The vegetarian versions are: arancino alla parmigiana, with eggplants, tomato sauce and mozzarella and arancino agli spinaci, with spinaches and mozzarella. Moreover, some chefs have revisited it and created high cuisine variations with Bronte pistachios, truffle, seafood, squid ink, porcino mushrooms , pesto sauce, gorgonzola cheese, sausage.

If you go to Sicily, taste them and you realize you really can’t part with them, no worries! Here’s how to prepare them.

Arancini recipe

Boil white rice in broth until al dente. Drain it, tip it into a large bowl, add saffron and leave it to cool. Prepare any type of filling you want. Now, shape a bit of rice in your hand like a tiny, tiny bowl, put the filling in its centre and cover it with other rice to form a little ball. 

Coat it with breadcrumbs, deep-fry it and taste! Easy peasy, isn’t it? Well, not so much if you don’t take this extra tip that will save you from seeing your arancini open and their filling cheerfully floating into the oil: make sure you use a sticky variety of rice!

Arancini, panelle, caponata

Sources - I piatti più cercati sul web - Arancino
All images released under Creative Commons license.

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