Anellini al forno is a classic pasta dish from Sicily that combines anellini (small ring-shaped) pasta in a meat ragu with peas, cubes of scamorza cheese, and topped with a bread crumb mixture. This is a dish that is served for Christmas or other special occasions in Sicily. You can substitute any small pasta, such as elbows, for the anellini, but the pasta rings are what make this dish authentic.
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs 1 pound anellini (small pasta rings) Sicilian Meat Ragu with Peas 8 ounces scamorza or provolone, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1/3 cup grated caciocavallo or pecorino cheese
Butter a large rectangular casserole dish. Coat the interior of the dish with some of the bread crumbs. Reserve the remainder of the crumbs for later.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta; stir in the meat sauce and the cubed cheese. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Pack the pasta into the dish to fill it. Combine the remaining bread crumbs with the grated cheese. Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake the casserole for 35-40 minutes, or until heated through. The crumbs on top will be lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Sicilian Meat Ragu with Peas Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 carrot, chopped 1 celery rib, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1/2 pound ground beef 1/2 pound ground pork 1 cup red wine 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree 1/4 cup tomato paste 1 teaspoon dried oregano Salt and pepper 1 (10 ounce) box frozen peas, thawed
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the ground pork and beef. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the red wine; allow it to cook until the wine is reduced by about half. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Place a lid on the saucepan so that it is slightly ajar. Cook the sauce for 30-40 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for another 5 minutes to heat through.