There are countless numbers of pasta dishes. Some are very well known and others not so much. Anellini alla Siciliana might be a lesser know pasta dish but by no means should it be overlooked. The most difficult thing about this dish will be trying to find anelletti pasta. They are basically a ring-shaped traditional pasta from Sicily. There are anelletti and anellini varieties. The only difference is that anellini pasta is just a smaller version of the anelletti hoops. For some reason, if you search hard enough the smaller anelletti will be easier to find. And yes you’ll still have an absolutely delicious and traditional Sicilian pasta dish. So go for it anyway!
Anellini alla Siciliana
(serves 10 people)
1,500 g Anelletti
1.75 lbs (800 g) minced pork
1.75 lbs. (800 g) minced beef
1 onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons, of tomato puree
- 1 cup of red wine (such as a Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 cups peas (frozen or fresh if you can find them)
- 2 cups freshly grated Pecorino cheese (more or less depending on your taste)
10-12 slices of Caciocavallo cheese
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (as needed)
Salt and pepper to taste
Anellini alla Siciliana
How to make
- Heat a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat.
- As the pot heats up dice the onion.
- Open the meat packages and add them to a bowl. Break up the mass with your hands.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot, add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Now add the meat and stir it through to incorporate it with the onions.
- Reduce the flame to medium and brown the meat in the pan occasionally stirring to prevent burning.
Tip: If the meat renders a lot of fat you can tip it out and then continue the browning process.
- Once you have a nice caramelization on the meat add the tomato paste.
- Mix it in well with the meat and let all cook an additional 5 minutes as you stir it occasionally.
- Now add the red wine and mix it in well. As it evaporates scrape up any caramelized bits (fond) that have formed on the bottom of the pot. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
- Stirn in the tomato sauce and bring all back to a simmer.
- Taste the meat for seasoning and let it cook over a medium flame and partially covered for about 1-hour stirring occasionally.
- Grease your baking tray. I used olive oil. Then Sprinkle in enough bread crumbs to coat the entire tray as you move it around.
- Pour out any excess and reserve for later.
- Place the tray in your refrigerator to help the breadcrumbs adhere better to the tray.
- Now boil a pot of salted water large enough to hold the anellini. Cook the pasta five minutes less than the cooking instructions suggest. DO NOT RINSE THE PASTA TO COOL IT DOWN.
- In your work area gather the two kinds of cheese, peas, meat, cooked anellini, salt, and pepper.
- Start by combining the meat and anellini. Then mix in the peas, and Parmesan cheese.
- Taste for seasoning. Remember to go easy on the salt the cheeses will add a good amount of salt all on their own.
- Remove your baking tray from the refrigerator.
- Pour half of the anellini mixture into the tray. Spread it out eventually and sprinkle a good amount of Parmesan cheese.
- Now add the sliced caciocavallo cheese,
- Add the rest of the anellini to evenly cover all.
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F.
- Mix a half cup of breadcrumbs and a half cup of Parmesan cheese together.
- Sprinkle all this mixture over the top of the last layer of anellini. Then drizzle some olive oil over the breadcrumb mixture.
- Place it on the center rack in your oven and let it bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Once done you can set the tray under your broiler to crisp up the breadcrumb topping a little more. This should take no more than five minutes.
Tip: Broilers are extremely hot. Rember to rotate the tray and keep an eye on it as you crisp up the top.
- Now let the anellini sit stovetop for a good 5-10 minutes. This will help it set and it will have a much better presentation when you go to serve it.