Anelletti al Forno, Little Baked Pasta Rings

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anelletti al forno

Anelletti is a pasta type that is ring shaped and in this case is baked, ( al Forno) between layers of marinara and bechamel sauce, of course there’s cheese and other goodies included like Italian sausage and peas.

Anelletti al Forno is a wonderful dish to spoon up for a crowd or for a mid week meal for your family, you can even make it meatless if you prefer, kids love it as well as adults because they look like spaghetti O’s.

Recently here in Chicago we had a huge snow storm and woke up to our neighbors shoveling out our long driveway, so as a thank you I brought this dish over to them to have for dinner.

anelletti pasta

As tiny as this anelletti pasta looks they take quite a long time to cook, but for this recipe you’ll want to stop cooking it around three minutes or so before the time on the package because it needs to be nice and al’dente, plus it’s going to finish cooking in the oven anyway.anelletti pasta

anelletti al forno

I like to spread the cooked anelletti onto a rimmed baking sheet so it can cool down faster, then it’s basically like making a lasagne, just have all your ingredients ready to go so you can start layering it into your baking dish.

Years ago on the blog I did another version of anelletti al forno but it was pressed and baked into a spring form pan, it’s really a pretty presentation when un-molded, check it out here.anelletti al forno

This recipe is very easy to prep the day before, no stress or clean up the day you’ll be serving it. Have it ready to go as in the picture above, just cover with foil and pop it into the fridge.anelletti al forno

Then on serving day, take it out and get it to room temp before baking, that’s it!anelletti al forno

The bechamel mingles with the marinara and parmesan cheese and creates a creamy, luscious sauce that envelopes the anelletti pasta so well.anelletti al forno

Like I said there are many versions of this dish, I got inspired to add the bechamel from a video I saw on Rosella’s Cooking with Nonna, and I’m so glad I did because it really makes the sauce dreamy.

I like the flavor of Italian sausage so I used that but other versions use ground meats. Also in my house I always have homemade marinara stashed in my freezer seasoned with garlic and basil, so that’s what I used here, s you can make homemade yourself or to make things easier and go a little faster  you can use a good quality store bought one, I repeat… Good Quality!  ( I won’t tell).

If you prefer a meatless version, omit the meat and add chunks of fresh mozzarella instead, believe me it’s all good!

Follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Anelletti al Forno, Little Baked Pasta Rings
Recipe inspired from Rossella's Cooking with Nonna and The Geometry of Pasta
  • 1 lb. anelletti pasta, (ringed shaped) cooked al'dente at least 3 minutes before cooking time on package, cooled down and set aside
  • 1 lb. mlld Italian sausage, bulk, or links with casings removed and cooked until you see no pink
  • 1½ quarts of marinara sauce, homemade or a good quality store bought with a garlic and basil base
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • basil
  • 4oz. butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Oil a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Heat oven to 425F.
  3. Cook pasta al'dente, cool it down then add 1 cup of marinara to it, toss and set aside.
  4. Gather all your ingredients before you, the pasta, the cooked sausage, frozen peas, grated cheese, basil leaves and marinara.
  5. Make the bechamel sauce by melting the butter in a sauce pan, add the flour and whisk and let it cook a little, careful not to burn, but keep whisking.
  6. Add the milk and whisk until it thickens nicely.
  7. Turn off the heat and fold in half cup of parmesan cheese.
  8. Add spoonfuls of marinara to the bottom of the baking dish. spread half of the pasta on top.
  9. Spoon bechamel over the layer, sprinkle it with sausage and a handful of peas.
  10. Top the layer off with grated Parmesan.
  11. Repeat layer like above with remaining ingredients ending with bechamel and a light layer of marinara.
  12. Top with fresh basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  13. Cover with foil and bake on the middle rack for thirty minutes.
  14. Let it rest before serving around thirty minutes.
  15. NOTE:
  16. Can do a meatless version by replacing the sausage with cubed fresh mozzarella.


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  1. Mary Ann Williams says

    My mouth is watering.

  2. This looks like true Italian comfort food, Marie! I know my family will love it.

  3. That is so sweet of you to make a nice dish for your neighbor. Of course, it was kind of your neighbor to shovel your drive. The addition of the bechamel sauce would really smooth it out. Great recipe, Marie. I’m pinning it!! Un abbraccio.

  4. Oh wow. If I shovel your driveway, will you make this for me? What a gorgeous dish of pasta that would melt anyone’s heart.

  5. Could another type of small pasta be used and if so, which one (s) would you use? I have never seen tomasello pasta in our stores so I would have to sub it for another kind.
    Thanks, this recipe looks delicious!

    • Hi Chris, Well you wouldn’t get the same look but sure you could change it up maybe with orecchiette pasta because it’s round. But if you go to an y Italian market they may have a brand there, I think I saw some even at Trader Joe’s although I nevewr tried it. I do know there is a brand Poiatti which is good and you can even order it on Amazon.

  6. Thanks, I will look for it and if I still cannot find it…Orecchiette is in my pantry! 🙂

  7. This dish reminds me of snowy days on the east coast, we would stock up and prepare a big meal for the neighborhood. Peas were often an addition to the baked pasta dishes my grandmother prepared, more typical of Southern Italy. Well done Marie, I’m certain it was enjoyed by all.

  8. Repaying an act of kindness in a delicious way. Your neighbors must have been thrilled.

  9. I made this– sort of! First, it was delicious! the bechemel in place of any ricotta puts it over the top! I probably added more cheese than the recipe called for, but I’m American, and we love cheese! I also didn’t have the same pasta. I used penne, but none the less, it was great! My suggestions, get GOOD jarred marinara or doctor one up and also GOOD Italian sausage. It makes all the difference in the world. Good cheese too. Thank you so much. My family will enjoy this for years to come!