Arancini, supplì, rice balls or risotto balls: in Italy you will hear several different ways to call this typical dish of Italian cuisine. But what is it and where to try the best ones?
As it often happens in Italy, each region has its own original recipe for a great part of the most typical dishes. So, it is impossible to tell where you can eat the best risotto balls above all.
However, whatever their variant is, they are one of the most famous symbols of Italian street food. So, if you are planning to have a food tour in Rome or wherever in Italy, let’s go on and read this guide, and discover all the regional variations of this dish, and where to eat the best one while having a food tour of the capital.
Regional variations: arancina, rice balls, risotto balls or supplì
Sicily is considered the motherland of the so called “arancina” – arancino, sometimes even if the Sicilians claim that the feminine version is the right one.
It is made with the “ragu”, a mix of minced pork and minced beef, peas and mozzarella in the middle. Onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, cloves and extra virgin olive oil add seasoning to the filling.
Still, even in Sicily, however, there are many local variations. For example, on the Aeolian islands, the version with capers chopped in the filling is very common.
In Catania, you should try the variation with aubergines and in Messina district, the one with the pistachio of Bronte.
Instead in Naples, they are named “pall ‘e riso” (literally, rice balls). This is a revisitation of the Sicilian arancina. The main difference is the presence of tomato sauce in the filling. Therefore, the rice has a red color.
In Milan, you should be able to taste the flavor of saffron in the “risotto balls”. In fact, one of the typical Milanese dishes is risotto with saffron (“risotto alla milanese”). Here is how two northern and southern culinary traditions meet.
A food tour in Rome amongst the flavors and beauty
At least, in Rome, you should try the so-called “supplì”. The difference with the arancina is the cylindrical elongated shape, instead of the classic round one, and the presence of a typical ingredient of Roman cuisine, pecorino romano, of course.
A food tour in Rome is surely an ideal occasion to try the supplì while having a walk immersed in the beauty of great historical and architectural value.
One of the greatest strengths of Rome, in fact, is that of being a sort of open-air museum.
Therefore, it is not hard to find small street food venues where you can buy suppli for a few euros, while sitting in the shade of the historical ruins and magnificent modern buildings that surround you.
Bakeries, pizzerias and gastropubs are the right place to stop at even if many trattorias and restaurants also have this dish on their menus.