Having just returned from a trip to Sicily, I wanted to recreate the flavors and tastes that I had the pleasure of experiencing there. Although our produce differs from the Sicilian crops that grow in lava-rich soil, and we may have to find substitutes for seafood found only in the Mediterranean, the attitude towards cooking is something we can recreate here. At its core, that attitude is simply to maintain food at its purest, so that tomatoes taste of the earth and fish taste of the sea.

The following antipasto recipe is for arancini, which literally means "little oranges." Arancini are fried rice balls stuffed with meat ragu or, my favorite, pistachios and peas. They can be as large as oranges or as small as apricots, round or teardrop-shaped. Every Sicilian cafe serves arancini, and each one has its own version.

Traditionally, they are coated in breadcrumbs, but my version uses panko, as I prefer the crunchy texture.  So fry up a batch and enjoy them with an aperitivo; close your eyes and imagine sitting in the middle of a piazza overlooking a beautiful Baroque cathedral while inhaling the sea-scented air. Buon appetito!