After wandering around the market, I realized I was ravenous. I hadn't eaten anything since waking up at 5 that morning! We set off looking for food, and decided to stop at one of the many pasticceria/tavola calda or bakery/'hot table' places that abound in Sicily. In places like these, you can get coffee, a brioche or croissant for breakfast, or choose from the many snack foods that are either kept warm or heated up.
A typical Sicilian snack that I did not want to go home without eating was the arancino. These are fried balls of rice filled with a variety of fillings, such as ragu or meat sauce, tomato sauce, or prosciutto and mozarella. The name arancino comes from the size and shape of the snack that is reminiscent of an orange, called arancia in Italian.
In the Catania area, we noticed they were more of a cone shape (bottom left on the dish) while in other parts of Sicily they are more round like an orange. Also, my Sicilian colleague Tony explained that in Agrigento where his family is from, they are called arancine, the feminine form of the orange, which makes sense since arancia is feminine. And because of this, he deduced that the arancine must have originated come from his part of Sicily. Ahh... makes sense!
My arancino hit the spot. S had a pastry that were filled with a mushroom filling that he really enjoyed. And for dessert, these mushroom shaped cupcake-like pastries that the man at the counter called simply 'ricotta'.
Yes, the filling was ricotta and it was delicious. A good, cheap and filling lunch.