Sicilian Treats: Savory and Sweet

Prior to our trip to Italy, I did a bit of research on typical Sicilian foods and found out about some fried rice balls called arancini. These rice balls are generally filled with meat sauce, mozzarella, and peas, and then they're dipped in bread crumbs and fried. YUM!

Although we planned to cook most of our meals on a camp stove, arancini seemed like the perfect lunch on-the-go. Even before arriving in Sicily, Isaiah had a chance to try one out for lunch on our way to catch the ferry. (And subsequently, we ate them every day for like five days straight.)

Now, at this particular place, you pay for your items first at the cassa and then hand your receipt to the clerk behind the counter who reheats your food and hands it over. So, the problem is the name arancini comes from the Italian word for orange, arancia, because they look like oranges. Also, an orange drink is called an aranciata. And another thing, sometimes you'll see the plural word for this treat as "arancine" (feminine plural) or "arancini" (masculine plural) -- this place used the feminine plural, which really screwed me up because that makes the singular "arancina." When I ordered for us, the man at the cassa must have thought I said aranciata because the man behind the counter looked at my receipt and then look at me kind of funny.

"Allora, vuoi una aranciata?" (So, you want an orange drink?)

"No, no. Ho sbagliato..." (No, no. I made a mistake...) I say, eying the arancine.

Switching to English, "Eh, you want-uh a rice-uh ball-uh?"

"Yes! I want a rice ball, please!"

Arancino filled with mozzarella

By the way, another yummy fried treat we loved was the rizzuola (rizzuole is the plural form) we had in Corleone. Try it!

As for sweets, oh there weren't enough hours in a day to try all the yummy typical desserts of Sicily. We tried a cannolo, babá (a cake dipped in rum sauce), bigné (sweet ricotta cream puff), and diplomatico (another sweet ricotta pastry/cake).

Ricotta Cake
Pistachio Cake

The pistachio cake we had one lunch wasn't my favorite -- it tasted like too much pistachio. Luckily, many Sicilian desserts share a similar ingredient: ricotta. The ricotta cake shown above was the standout of the bunch we had a chance to try.


  1. OMG my husband would have loved to have that pistachio cake!

    Now that sounds like a cooking challenge -- fried rice balls. Anything stuffed with mozarella is worth the effort, I say.

  2.'re making me hungry! Haven't tried the rice balls but they sound fantastic!

  3. Ohhh I went to sicily two years ago I loved it!

  4. Amanda I'm salivating..these look delicious. That's funny how the guy switched to english. rice-ball hu?

  5. I never had rizzuola, but the arancini were one of my favorite foods growing up. I still make my own version occasionally when I have leftover risotto - just add eggs, mozzarella and bread crumbs, and fry. Holy yumminess.

  6. In general, I'm not a fan of Italian desserts although i totally love all the other food. Not a ricotta fan, especially in dessert. But that rum-soaked cake and pistachio cake sound tempting to me!

  7. I should blog about fried foods more often - look at all these great comments!

    Juanita - you know, I LOVE pistachios and pistachio ice cream, but I just couldn't get into this cake!

    Chantal - I seriously ate these 5 days in a row and did not get sick of them!

    Julia - Hola, hola! I already want to go back and see more!

    Elisa in Croatia - What's even funnier is the whole rest of the trip, we called them "rice-uh balls-uh" in that man's heavy accent. (A little inside joke for us that makes us laugh even today!)

    Globetrotting in Heels - now, I realize my last comment is very un-PC considering you're ITALIAN, but I find the heavy accent absolutely endearing. By the way, could you post a little arancini recipe one of these days????

    Fly Girl - I totally understand why you wouldn't like ricotta CHEESE in your dessert, but this blog doesn't have the word "queso" in it for nothing! How do you feel about tiramisu? (mascarpone instead of ricotta...)


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