Arancini are stuffed rice balls, coated with breadcrumbs and fried. They are said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century and are now commonly featured on restaurant menus and cooked in homes. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings from ragù (meat sauce), mushrooms, ham, mozzarella, and/or peas and are often made to use up leftover risotto. They were possibly eaten as a snack or lunch for those working in the fields or on fishing boats, but are now eaten as part of antipasti, or at parties and picnics. The name derives from their shape and colour, which resemble an orange (the Italian word arancina means “little orange”), although in Messina, arancini have a more conical shape.
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