So we come, however, to the origins of the Sicilian arancino that would be a dish of Arab derivation, the son of that close relationship between food and migration. In fact, it was born during the period of Saracen domination in Sicily, when during banquets there was a habit of placing at the center of the table a rich tray of saffron flavored rice, seasoned with vegetables and meat. The first version of the arancino, then, is that of a simple rice ball to be enjoyed with full hands and without the tomato that, at the time, had yet to be imported from the Americas.
Moreover, as Giambonino from Cremona recounts in the “Liber de ferculis” it was quite common between the ninth and eleventh century, that all the roundish meatballs took their name from the fruit they remembered: in Sicily, with a delicious ball of seasoned rice it was really impossible Therefore, do not immediately think about the oranges of which this land has always been very rich.
The idea, then, to give this delicious recipe a note of crunchiness and the classic round shape, it seems that derives from a practical and royal need: it is said that the king Federico II loved to this point this dish, to want to bring behind during the hunts. It is at this point that some clever chef invented the fragrant breading of the arancino, ideal to make that delicious rice cake transportable!
And if, as confirmed by the Crusca, in the rest of Italy we are free to call this dish arancino or arancina, attention if you want to invite a catanese to dinner, use the feminine could cost you dear! Did you know?