I first came across aranchini (also known as arancine) over this past summer and didn’t think much about it. It just looked like a ball of rice, but it’s actually more complex than that. Aranchini is Italian for “little orange”, which is what these little bite-sized croquettes looks like. What typically gives these little balls that orangey hue is saffron, one of the most expensive spices out there. However, I think many just stick to using plain old breadcrumbs so it has lost its orangeness over time.
Aranchini balls are crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. It’s made with risotto stuffed with plenty of gooey cheese and can have both meat and/or vegetables too. These ingredients are then rolled together into a ball, breaded and either deep fried or baked to make this petite morsel of food. It’s quite popular at bars in Sicily, but some restaurants serve them as appetizers too. Although I had mine cold and didn’t enjoy it as much, I’m sure if it was hot out of the fryer (or oven), it would’ve made all the difference.