4: Arancini at U Liotru Sicilian Food in Galway-
The Sicilian rice balls called arancini are the specialty at U Liotru Sicilian Food in Galway. There are many fillings available, ragu with meat is probably the most common. The swordfish, tomato and aubergine version that I tried is an off menu special and it’s stunning.
Arancini are emblematic of Sicily. They have been around since the 10th century, during Arab rule. I’ve heard its customary to eat arancini onboard the ferry boat that takes you from the Italian mainland to Sicily so you can taste the island before you even arrive.
It’s ironic that my first taste of arancini was in Ireland. They aren’t as dense as I imagined, in fact they are quite light. The name comes from the Sicilian word for oranges, since the rice balls are about that size. One is a good appetizer, you would want three or so to make a meal.
Vito is the owner of the tiny six-table restaurant on Abbeygate Lower, a side street between Dock Road and Shop Street, across from the side entrance to Eyre Square Mall.
The name of the restaurant, U Liotru means the elephant in Sicilian. It’s also the symbol of the Sicilian city of Catania.
The other outstanding Sicilian dish I have sampled here is the “Pasta Pistacchio e Pancetta,” a free-form lasagna with layers of noodles, Italian bacon, parmesean cream sauce and Sicilian pistachios. Its topped with grated cheese and chopped pistachios.
What a welcome change from the standard lasagna Bolognese.