Anelletti Al Forno – Oven Baked Pasta Rings

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: January 15, 2021

For a food-prep, ready to bake pasta dish, this delicious anelletti al forno fits the bill. oven baked pasta rings in a simple meat ragu, cooked to perfection with Mozzarella and pecorino. It’s simple and delicious!

Anelletti Al Forno - baked rings of pasta in a tomato sauce in a bowl with a fork

Italian food is simple, and none more than this delicious little treat from Sicily, Anelletti Al Forno. Anellini, meaning 'rings' in Italian are the pasta base for this super-simple baked dish.

A meat ragu creates a tangy tomato sauce that the rings are only too happy to soak up - when baked in the oven, smothered in stringy mozzarella and sharp salty pecorino the dish comes together to form a melty, rich delight!

Dried pasta rings called Anelletti on a wooden board.

What are Anelletti?

Anelletti are a type of pasta originating from Sicily, Italy. They are small, ring-shaped pasta resembling tiny doughnuts or rings. Anelletti are often used in various Sicilian dishes, particularly in baked pasta dishes like "pasta al forno" or "pasta al forno Siciliana." They are also commonly used in soups and pasta salads.

Anelletti pasta is versatile and can be paired with a variety of sauces and ingredients, making it a popular choice in Italian home cooking. They go under the names Anelli Siciliani, Anelli, Anellini or Anelletti, and are found in an array of sizes .

December 11 - National Noodle Ring Day

Did you know that December 11 is National Noodle Ring Day? It's the perfect day and time of year to celebrate with this simple and delicious Anelletti Al Forno recipe! Buon Apetito!

Share recipe for National Noodle Ring Day!

Why it works?

It's comforting and satisfying: Baked pasta dishes like anelletti al forno are inherently hearty and comforting. When baking, this aromatic dish permeates every corner of the house and the anticipation of all that melted cheese is almost too much!

Stirring the meat sauce in a pan for the Anelletti al forno baked pasta.

Stuff You'll Need

This is a game of two halves. First you'll need to make a simple ragu, and then you'll need to bake the pasta in the ragu with cheese to form the final 'al forno' (in the oven) dish. Here's what you'll need.

  • For the ragù - we cook the ground (minced) beef and pork with onion, sage, garlic, red wine, tomato, salt and pepper. You can use either beef or pork or a combination of both for extra flavour.
  • For the aneletti al forno - we use anelletti pasta rings, mozzarella and pecorino cheese and a little more seasoning.
Stirring the anelletti into the meat sauce. 

Step by Step

Making the dish is easy here's how it's done. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF

  • Step 1: In a large saucepan, sauté onion and sage until soft (3-4 mins).
  • Step 2: Add garlic, minced beef, and pork. Sauté until browned, then add red wine.
  • Step 3: Allow alcohol to burn off for 1 min. Add tomato, water, salt & pepper.
  • Step 4: Simmer uncovered for 30 mins. Discard sage when done.
  • Step 5: Cook pasta in boiling salted water, 3 mins less than packet instructions.
  • Step 6: Reserve a couple of cups of pasta water, drain anellini rings, stir into sauce.
  • Step 7: Spread pasta in dish, top with mozzarella and pecorino.
  • Step 8: Drizzle with olive oil, bake uncovered at 25 mins or until browned. Serve hot!
A baking dish of anelletti al forno about to go into the oven. Topped with cubes of mozzarella cheese.

Pro Tips

  • Oven baked pastas are an excellent alternative to regular pasta, and excellent for large groups. This recipe could happily serve 8 regular people (not greedy people) and that's a whole lot less fuss than cooking a bowl of regular pasta for 8! If you were to freeze the Anelletti, stop short of baking it, be sure to wrap it tightly with foil or plastic. It will be good for 2-3 months.
  • When it comes time to cook, from frozen you're looking at around a 60-80 minute cook time at 375ºF/180ºc. Cover the dish in foil for the first 30 minutes then remove for the final 30.
  • Another tip from frozen - the dish may be a little drier than a fresh batch (the pasta will continue to soak up any moisture), add a few drizzles of water or stock (about 1/2 cup) to the side of the dish before cooking.
Anelletti Al Forno - baked rings of pasta in a tomato sauce with a serving spoon

Serving & Storage Suggestions

I like to serve a simple salad alongside this baked pasta. I have a couple of go-to Italian salads that work well: try my crunchy Radicchio Salad with Pear, Walnut & Gorgonzola Dressing or the sweet and light Peach & Burrata Salad. You could also serve with a simple Heirloom Tomato Salad.

  • Leftovers - will be fine, well covered in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until piping hot. Add a couple of tablespoons of water or broth over the pasta before reheating to keep it moist as the sauce will continue to be absorbed by the pasta during its time in the fridge.
  • Freeze - you can freeze leftover portions in airtight containers for 3+ months. Reheat from frozen in a microwave. Add a few tablespoons of water before reheating to help keep it moist. Heat until piping hot.
  • Freeze before cooking - You can assemble the dish and freeze (well covered in plastic wrap or foil) before baking. To reheat either defrost and cook as per the recipe or cook from frozen for 60-80 minutes 375ºF/180ºc. from frozen, cover with foil and remove for the final 30 minutes of cooking. Check for doneness to ensure all is piping hot inside.

Ready to get cooking?

This traditional al forno anelletti is a simple and tasty pasta dish that takes all the fuss out of serving pasta for the masses. Simple place this dish on the table and let everyone help themselves. Kids love this one and if you're so inclined you can easily hide one or two extra vegetables in the sauce for them.

This is also a dish I like to have in portions in the freezer and makes for a quick and easy lunch or mid-week dinner with a nice crunchy salad. I hope you enjoy!

Anelletti Al Forno - baked rings of pasta in a tomato sauce in a bowl with a fork
A plate of baked pasta rings called Anelleti Al Forno

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about ? Let me know in the comments.

What is Anelletti?

Anelletti are small ring-shaped pasta resembling tiny donuts. Originating from Sicily (sometimes called 'Anelli Siciliani'), they're commonly used in dishes like Anelletti al forno, a baked pasta specialty. These small pasta rings are versatile and perfect for holding onto sauces and other ingredients.

What is Anelletti Al Forno?

Anelletti al forno is a traditional Sicilian baked pasta dish featuring ring-shaped pasta, layered with a savoury meat sauce, peas, cheese, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs. It's a hearty and flavourful comfort food popular in Sicilian cuisine.

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A plate of baked pasta rings called Anelleti Al Forno

Anelletti Al Forno

Rate this recipe

5 from 4 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 525


For the Sauce (Ragù)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion (small) (finely chopped)
  • 1 sage (small bunch)
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled & chopped)
  • ½ lb ground beef (250g)
  • ½ lb ground pork (250g)
  • 1 cup red wine (dry)
  • 1 can tomato polpa (12oz/400g)(or tomato pasatta)
  • Salt & pepper

Other ingredients


  • To make the Ragù Sauce
  • In a large saucepan over a moderate heat, fry the onion and sage for 3-4 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes before adding the ground beef and pork. Fry for 3-4 minutes until browned then pour in the red wine.
  • Let this sizzle for 1minute to burn off the alcohol before adding the tomato. Fill the tomato can TWICE with water and pour into the sauce. Season generously with salt & pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to let the sauce simmer gently, uncovered for 30 minutes. Once cooked, fish out the sage and discard.
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC
  • Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water MINUS 3 minutes from the packet instructions. Take out a couple of cups of pasta water then drain the anellini rings and stir into the tomato sauce. Add about 1 cup pasta water to the mixture - the pasta will continue to soak up the liquid during cooking.
  • Spread the pasta mixture into a large ovenproof dish. Arrange all the cubed mozzarella over the pasta and then sprinkle over the pecorino.
    Drizzle over a little olive oil, then pop into the oven and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until the surface is nicely browned.
    Serve hot!


Freezing and cooking directions:

To freeze for later, stop at the stage when you've added the cubed mozzarella and pecorino. Wrap the dish in foil or plastic and freeze.
To cook from frozen: 
Remove any plastic and cover with foil.
You may want to pour a little stock or water into the sides of the dish as the pasta may get a little dry during cooking (those pasta rings will continue to soak up moisture!).
Place in a 350ºF/180ºC preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 20-30 minutes. Until the pasta is cooked through and browned on top.


Calories: 525kcal (26%) | Carbohydrates: 8g (3%) | Protein: 32g (64%) | Fat: 37g (57%) | Saturated Fat: 17g (106%) | Cholesterol: 116mg (39%) | Sodium: 727mg (32%) | Potassium: 473mg (14%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 3g (3%) | Vitamin A: 498IU (10%) | Vitamin C: 8mg (10%) | Calcium: 533mg (53%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)
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