“Arancine” are a speciality in Sicily particularly in Palermo. To get to the point, they are balls of rice, about 7 or 8 cm in diameter, filled with either meat sauce and peas (arancine alla carne) or mozzarella cheese, béchamel sauce and ham (arancine al burro) coated in breadcrumbs and fried in hot oil.
The name comes from the shape and colour which remind you of an orange.
The recipe seems to have come from the Arabs who used to eat rice with saffron and herbs and meat.
The breadcrumb coating and frying comes from the court of Frederik II.
It would seem that the Emperor tried to find a way to take this food with him on journeys and hunting trips and that the breadcrumb crust ensured not only an easy way to transport this dish but also an excellent conservation of the food.
It could be that initially the arancine where considered as a way of transporting food.
Many different varieties have now been developed so by the side of the traditional ones you may find them with mozzarella and spinach or even with chocolate spread!
Besides, you can also find a variety which is baked in the oven but whether fried or baked, you can find them in every bar or “rosticceria” in and around Palermo.