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Arancini Appreciation

When it comes to inventing new fried foods, enthusiastic fryers have come up with some pretty crazy menu items. And while some concoctions make our hearts stop beating at the mere thought of consumption (deep fried baconnaise, anyone?), there are actually a few types of fried treats that deserve respect from foodie elitists. Fried capers can add a crunchy yet delicate texture to a dish, and fried pickles are the perfect sour snack, especially when added to a grilled cheese sandwich! But above all other deep fried delicacies, we think that fried cheese is simply divine. Topping our lists is the classic Italian appetizer, arancini. With its crispy golden crust and gooey, melting middle, arancini is a sophisticated recipe that will make you reconsider your fear of fried food.

Photo Credit: justataste.com

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of justataste.com

Arancini is a Sicilian recipe that dates back to the tenth century. Although its name means “little orange” in Italian, there’s nothing too fruity about this snack. Sometimes simply referred to as rice balls, arancini is made from fried risotto and contains a nugget of molten cheese in the center. Although most people are likely more familiar with the round arancini, it is commonly coned-shaped in Italy and is sold as a snack or appetizer at most restaurants or pizzerias. Because the recipe calls for risotto that has been chilled, which makes it much easier to work with, arancini is the ideal way to use leftover risotto so that nothing goes to waste.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of CHOW

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of CHOW

Although a proper arancini is defined by its rice filling, the ingredients in the risotto itself can vary greatly. This recipe for tomato-basil arancini stuffs the best flavors of a traditional marinara sauce directly inside the croquette.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of taste.com

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of taste.com

Another delicious flavor combination is prosciutto and spinach arancini. The saltiness of the prosciutto is cut by the creamy spinach and melted mozzarella, making each bite perfectly balanced.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Cooking for Keeps

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Cooking for Keeps

Although many arancini recipes focus on classic Italian flavors, others explore unexpected combinations. Pomegranate seeds add a subtle sweet-tart tang, and hold their shape and texture very well when cooked. These pomegranate and goat cheese arancini are not only tasty, but picture perfect, too!

Photo Credit: italianfoodforever.com

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of italianfoodforever.com

The most common cheese fillings for arancini is mozzarella, for both its flavor and its ideal melted consistency. However, making your own arancini is a wonderful way to experiment with different cheeses. One our favorite variations is this simple yet flavorful gorgonzola arancini. When you have a particularly powerful cheese, let that be the star ingredient in your dish! And if you know the essentials rules of melting cheese, you can personalize any rice ball recipe by adding your favorite fromage. 

Photo Credit: Featured image courtesy of finedininglovers.com

Emily Dangler

Culture Intern Emily Dangler is a creative writer and travel enthusiast, who is always looking for a good story to tell. Originally a West Coast girl, Emily has spent several years migrating across the country and is currently an adopted resident of Boston, where she is enjoying the city's delicious food and rich history.