February 15, 2019

Bella Arancina

By Janice Binkert | April 21, 2018

PepeNero Italian restaurant and Ballaró wine lounge chef-owner Giorgio Lo Greco has a wicked sense of humor, but he takes his arancina seriously, emphasizing that this is the correct word for the famous Sicilian snack in the north, in his native Palermo, but noting with disdain that the people of Catania, in the south, make it in a different shape and call it arancino. Either way, the root word is arancia, Italian for an orange, which the Palermo version resembles in both size and color. The arancina on the Ballaró menu, while somewhat smaller than the original, is the same formula: a ball of cooked risotto rice stuffed with cheese, meat or fish, breaded and deep-fried. Lo Greco serves it in a pool of his rich red marinara sauce. “Our two most popular versions are done with a meat ragù or mozzarella and prosciutto,” he said. “But one of my favorites — because Palermo is on the ocean — is this one, with seafood.” That would be a mix of chopped squid, shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams tucked inside a perfect sphere of saffron risotto. Delizioso! [ub6] $8. PepeNero/Ballaró, 700 Cottageview Drive (inside the Village at Grand Traverse Commons), Traverse City. (231) 929-1960. pepenerotc.com



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