If you didn't grow up in an Italian household, you probably have absolutely no idea what arancini actually is and that's okay. I was lucky enough to experience having this food homemade and always looked forward to eating it. Arancini remind me of growing up in an Italian family and enjoying food that many people had no idea existed. But back to the point: what is arancini? Here's everything you need to know.

What are Arancini? 

#ibbys, WUSTL, risotto balls, Fried
Charlotte Ohana

Arancini are deep fried rice balls usually filled with sauce, mozzarella, and peas. They can vary in shape, filling, and size depending on how they are made. These stuffed rice balls originated in Italy, specifically Sicily, and are now sold in restaurants around the world. They are perfect appetizers to share, but can be enjoyed as a side dish or eaten as a meal as well.

To make arancini, you should definitely follow a recipe. The directions typically involve stirring together eggs, risotto, cheese, and breadcrumbs into a bowl to form the rice filling, which ultimately becomes the rice ball itself. The rice ball is then coated with breadcrumbs and stuffed with mozzarella and sauce before cooking in the oven or getting deep fried. It sounds complicated, but the whole process is fairly painless. 

#SpoonTip: Try making this simple arancini recipe with your friends! 

The Origins of Arancini

The Italian word arancia means orange, and sometimes arancini are ironically as big as oranges. Arancini were first eaten in the 10th century in Sicily. The term arancini was first started in Sicily, although many regions still claim that they came up with it themselves. Arancini are traditionally eaten during the feast of Santa Lucia, which takes place on December 13th every year. During this time, bread and pasta are not eaten, which is why arancini are so popular. Though particularly popular on this feast day, arancini are available year-round in Italy and many other countries. 

Now that you are aware of what arancini are, it's time to try to make them! Although some may say it takes years to master making this Italian specialty, who says you can't try? You can also take the easy way out and order them at an Italian restaurant nearby. Regardless of which option you choose, good luck and enjoy them!