Stecchi are sticks, often popsicle sticks, and short for the portable ice cream treats stuck on them (although a plain old popsicle is usually a ghiacciolo.
Stecchi fritti: Take a toothpick or small skewer, stick on small bits of meat and cheese, cover in bechamel sauce, roll in egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fry.
In Bologna they wear the grander title of stecchi fritti alla petroniana (Bologna is St Petronius's city), and the mix of materials can include mortadella, gruyere cheese, chicken, veal and sometimes animelle.
In Liguria, stecchi fritti al genovese traditionally employed animelle and other pork offal with cheese, and instead of bechamel the covering was made of the same ingredients ground up with breadcrumbs. Nowadays better cuts of meat are generally used.
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