Street food across Italy is a true testament to the resourcefulness, innovation, and passion; Italians from all walks of life have when it comes to food. The dishes are humble, simple, and packed with heat, intensity, and big flavors.
Today, street food has become an art as well, a way of expressing personal creativity keeping the tradition alive: even the starred chefs dedicate many of their creative dishes to the genuine and authentic street food cuisine, to show how simple recipes may actually reveal an explosion of delicious tastes.
There’s a never-ending debate that divides Sicily between those who call it arancino and those who insist the correct spelling is arancina.
But despite the gender of this popular Italian street food, it’s undeniably a must-try when in Italy, and especially in Sicily, its land of origin.
Usually, the female version arancina is round shaped like the orange, the fruit that supposedly inspired the name, while the male version arancino is slightly conical, a shape that is said to be inspired by the Etna volcano.
The traditional recipe is pretty much the same: a ball of rice covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, with a heart of tasty ragù (tomato sauce with minced meat), peas and “caciocavallo” cheese.
While the recipe is traditionally Sicilian, arancini are popular all over Italy. They come with many different fillings, from ham and mozzarella cheese to spinach and mozzarella, or even pistachio if you’re in the Sicilian town of Bronte.
Pizza al Taglio:
Pizza al taglio (literally “pizza to cut”) is the most popular pizza in Rome, and actually considered street food. In English it’s “pizza by the slice” You will find “pizzerie al taglio” or “forni” (bakeries) everywhere in the city and they look all pretty much the same. They are holes in the wall, with one or two tables (or occasionally none), and a long counter full of “lingue” (“tongues”), long, rectangular pizzas.
These pizzas are all different “flavors.” These diverse possibilities range from classics, such as “pizza rossa” (only tomato sauce), “pizza bianca” (just oil and salt – perfect for making sandwiches or with Nutella!), “pizza margherita” (I know you know this one – tomato sauce and mozzarella), to more impressive types, loaded with mushrooms, potatoes, cheeses, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, sometimes meat (usually cold cuts or porchetta), and so on. These are favorite mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks for us, although they are also good for a light lunch, especially if you’re outside walking around, doing some shopping, or work near a pizzeria and want to have a “cheat lunch.”
In Sicilian language the word cannolu (with u) means “short tube”. The cannolu is actually the name of a cylinder-shaped mould used by the mamas to wrap the dough. Originally Sicilian mamas were using sugar cane sections. Nowadays pro-mamas can only use soulless sterilized metal moulds.
The cannolo dough is made of flour, sugar, egg, lard, vinager, marsal wine. The dough is worked by hands, stretched and finally rolled around the mould. The fragrant paste is gently killed in lard (pig fat), deep fried in it with no mercy. Not all vegetarian travelers know about the lard passage until they meet a Streaty guide, but the funny part of the story is that they don’t get surprised nor disgusted at all when knowing this, they still love and eat cannoli. What about the cream? Take fresh sheep ricotta and mix it with sugar. Done.
The cannolo must be filled at the moment. A cannolo filled more than 30 min prior your first bite will probably taste like a humid soggy biscuit dipped in a melted sour cream. When you entered a cafè, ask to fill up a new cannolo for you. Let me say that most of the times this won’t work for you as a tourist. You will probably get as reply “why?this is a real sicilian cannolo, the best one! We make it fresh every morning!”. Be aware! the more a Sicilian stresses the freshness of his products the less fresh that stuff is.
All Sicilians agree that the minimum size of proper Sicilian cannoli is 14 cm / 5,5 inch. A small cannolo is called by Sicilians cannolicchio. The cannolicchio is normally 9 cm / 3,5 inch long. This is what you may find outside Sicily sold as “true Sicilian cannoli”. Stay away from it. The point is that the proportion of crust and cream in a small cannolo never gets the same tasty results as a real Sicilian one. When you bite a proper size cannolo, your lips must sink into the fresh cream and make yourself a fancy hipster ricotta mustache, and why not…a white nose too. While biting you feel the toasting of the crust. Let’s shorten this up: a cannolicchio is not a real cannolo.
Check out the recipe from here
Trippa or lampredotto
Simply put, they are organ meat or offal. Trippa is tripe, the edible lining of the cow’s stomach. While tripe is eaten elsewhere, lampredotto is a local specialty for Florence. It is the fourth and final stomach of a cow, generally slow-cooked with tomato, onion, parsley, and celery until it has the texture of tender roast beef. Both are traditionally served on a crunchy bun, often first soaked in the broth and with spicy or green sauce.
Both have been considered peasant food for centuries, and as such, go back to Florence’s roots and to the poor working classes. Usually, you don’t sit down at a classic restaurant to eat trippa or lampredotto but in Florence, they can also be found at trattorie and osterie and fiaschetterie. In keeping with tradition, the best places to head to for the best trippa or lampredotto are at these food stands or trippai which are located in many of the squares and corners of the city.
A calzone (pronounced “kalt-soh-neh”) is a crescent-shaped pizza in which the filling is enclosed in the double-folded base. Calzone means “pants” or “trouser leg” and is originally the take-away variant of the round pizza: because the filling cannot fall off, the dish is easier to transport and can be eaten without cutlery.
Just like regular pizza, the calzone comes from eighteenth-century Naples. A filled pizza, pizza ripieno, is what the Italians call a calzone. In Italy, small calzones are sold on the street for lunch and eaten as street food. The filling usually consists of mozzarella and/or ricotta with ham or salami, but can be varied to your heart’s content.
A calzone has one layer and is filled with ricotta, mozzarella, and Italian meats. Even vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are popular calzone fillings. The dough is folded into a half moon shape and baked until golden brown. They’re best when they come out of the oven with the cheese falling over the sides.
OK, the first thing you’ll notice about calzones is their distinctive shape. It looks like an empanada or an elevated version of your college staple, pizza-flavored Hot Pockets.
The whole concept of the calzone is pretty amazing, though. It’s like an outside-in personal pizza stuffed with delicious amounts of cheese — ricotta, mozzarella and good old Parmesan — and it comes with an anything-goes approach to filling.
Calzones usually come with a side of dipping sauce, despite the fact that these pizza-like pastries typically include a thin layer of tomato sauce on the inside.
Calzones are Italian street food, hailing from Naples, specifically. Italian calzones tend to be a bit smaller than their U.S. counterparts, making them the perfect portable tidbit for those folks craving crust.
Often, people mix up stromboli and calzones, as both go heavy on the carbs and include much of the same adornments you’ll get on your average pizza. Don’t be fooled — they are not the same.
Check out the recipe from here
You may have heard about the famous Italian suppli (or suppli al telefono)– a Roman food classic commonly found in the region of Lazio, but also found elsewhere in Italy (with a slightly different recipe and shape!). Strangely enough, the name originally comes from the French word for surprise, referring to the surprise which one would find in the center of these delicious rice balls. Once upon a time, the roman suppli makers used to surprise us with little bits of offal. Nowadays we mainly find the classic suppli made with a ragu sauce (some of you may know this as Bolognese) and with a heart of warm and stringy mozzarella which gives it the name suppli al telefono as the cheese stretched like a phone cord).
While today you can find suppli in any rosticceria or pizzeria around Rome, years ago there were suppli vendors, walking around the streets of Rome at night, with a food warmer, yelling “Suppli!”. Up until the 50’s, there was a famous suppli man named Polifemo. He had his corner in the center of Rome from which he barely ever moved, with an enormous pot of sizzling oil and a big netted paddle he used to scoop out his freshly fried rice balls. Sounds divine!
Check out the recipe from here
Street food is trendy, and Rome’s Trapizzino is one of its trendiest ambassadors. Invented in 2008 in the Testaccio neighborhood of the Italian capital, the half-sandwich, half-pizza treat has been so successful that, in just a few years, it has expanded not only beyond its birth neighborhood, and national borders, it has even opened in New York and Japan – and it plans for more openings.
Trapizzino is a play on words that comes from the union of the words tramezzino (the classic Italian triangular sandwich found in many bars) and pizza; trapizzino is half sandwich, half pizza. The dough is that of pizza, shaped in the form of a triangle, made with lievito madre (starter), soft inside, crunchy outside. Then, rather than tomato and mozzarella, it is filled with classic Roman dishes, which take hours, if not days, to make. So Trapizzino has been able to combine tradition and quality with quick delivery and convenient prices, which is probably the secret of its success.
With time, Trapizzino has expanded its offerings beyond classic Roman recipes such as Roman-style artichokes (yum), Roman-style tripe and Roman oxtail stew; it now also offers stuffings inspired by other regional cuisines such as parmigiana di melanzane or pollo alla cacciatora.
Check out the recipe from here