Anelletti al Forno, Little Baked Pasta Rings

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.



Anelletti and Corzetti Pasta

I received an awesome book for review a while back called, The Geometry of Pasta, (Quirk Books) I’m embarrassed to say how long ago it was. This a book I wouldn’t normally gravitate to because it has no pictures, the cover is black and white and I convinced myself I wouldn’t like it, but once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down, I read it from beginning to end in one afternoon.

The book in great detail covers every shape of pasta you can think of, fresh, dry, stuffed you name it, plus all the history behind each shape, where and how they originated, how they’re used, plus recipes all throughout. If you’re a pasta freak like me I would highly recommend this book.

I love using different shapes of pasta in my cooking, I get bored with the same old thing all the time so when I saw a recipe for Anelletti Al Forno I knew I was going to try it. Little loops of pasta baked together in a sauce filled with cheese, peas and crumbled Italian sausage, placed in a ring mold or in my case a springform pan. You might even want to call this grown up spaghettiO’s!

This is the perfect dish to bring to a party or to put out on a buffet, it doesn’t have to be steaming hot, great at room temperature and it has a nice presentation. This is also great for a picnic but unfortunately that’s not happening here for a while, but I will keep it in mind for the summer.
It doesn’t take long to put this dish together either, after you make a quick marinara sauce or quicker yet purchase a really good one, then you cook your pasta until it’s very al dente.

Then it’s time to mix up your filling and place it into a buttered springform pan dusted with toasted breadcrumbs.

The nice thing is you can do a meat or a vegetarian version. The first one I ever made was with out meat using ricotta, fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan and asiago cheese.

Here’s what I used for the filling;
Totally adapted from The Geometry of Pasta
Marinara sauce, around 3 cups or so made with basil and garlic
3/4 lb of cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, casings removed
1 lb of anelletti cooked very al dente
1 cup of frozen peas
4 oz of diced fontinella cheese or provolone
1/2 cup of grated pecorino
1 egg
Basil, parsley, salt and pepper
Get a big bowl and add everything inside together if you have some leftover put it in a ramekin or a smaller mold.
Butter a springform pan, I used a 10 inch and dusted it with toasted breadcrumbs. Pour in the pasta mixture pressing down with the back of a spoon. Top with more grated cheese and then bake at 425F between 35 and 45 minutes. The important thing is to let it cool for at least a good hour or so, then unmold, it could then be cut into wedges or scooped out, whichever you prefer.
I recently received a bag of corzetti pasta as a gift and was waiting for a special occasion to make it. Corzetti ( spelled a couple of different ways) are large coins of pasta cut into discs and embossed on both sides using a hand carved stamp originating from Liguria. The stamps are hard to find here but I’m confident I will get my hands on one soon.

If you want to see a beautiful post on homemade hand stamped corzetti please check out my friend Elaine’s post here. I’m in awe of this pasta with it’s understated elegance!
The brand I received as a gift was absolutely delicious, I used Elaine’s sauce and it was quite a hit on our holiday table!
Buon Appetito!