What do you get when you cross the crispy outer shell and meaty filling of an arancina with the spongy inner dough of a Crispy Creme donut? The answer is the rizzuola, a deep fried Sicilian snack that eats like a meal. This week, my friend Diana and I are headed to Palermo to study western Sicily’s street food. We thought it was only right to get a head start with our research in Rome.

We met my friend Rob in San Paolo at the Sicilian gastronomia Cu Mangia Crisci. It was lunchtime and the counter was full of plenty of tempting baked and fried things to choose from, but the rizzuole were calling our names. These Sicilian meat pies are made by filling dough with ragu’, a rich sauce of meat and peas, and mozzarella. The dough is formed into a patty, rolled in bread crumbs, and deep fried. The result is a crispy, golden brown exterior within which the spongy dough encases the melted cheese and dense meat sauce.

Our preliminary research set the stage for things to come. In Palermo we have many deep fried and meat filled items in our future. Occasionally they will resemble the rizzuloa (the arancina, a deep fried rice ball filled with ragu’, for example), sometimes they will not (panelle). What is certain, however, is that we are very very lucky that Diana’s husband is a cardiologist because after this week, we will certainly need one.

2016-01-07T14:37:31+00:00 November 17th, 2009|Categories: Carbs, Fried Foods, Gastronomic Traditions, Meat, Rome & Lazio, Sicily|8 Comments


  1. shayma November 17, 2009 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    have a great time. that delicacy looks divine, i have never had it, but i think it could easily become a fave.

  2. Mamma Parla aka JP November 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    HAPPY TRAILS! And have some fried delights for me – I can smell the panelle frying. Rizzuola looks fantastica – cant wait to taste it. I see a trip to Italia in my near future!

  3. Megan November 17, 2009 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    So jealous…I don’t know if you will make it as far south as Agrigento but there is a very special street food that my mother in law’s family (from Aragona) loves called ‘mbrugliate, which are curled, pastry pouches usually stuffed with either meat or cheese and anchovies. Very tasty…

  4. Katie November 18, 2009 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    @shayma they are spectacular. you would love them.

    @mamma parla i certainly will eat fried food for you, me and everyone else i know.

    @megan wont make it south of palermo this time but ‘mbrugliate are calling my name.

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  8. Mick P September 20, 2016 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I had my first one of these in Trapani a couple of weeks ago, and I still wake up in the night thinking about it and wishing I had one under the bed, ready. The danger is, Cu Mangia Crisci is but a five-minute scooter ride from us.

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