Baked Anelletti (Timballo); Recipe from Sicily

Baked Anelletti from Palermo.

A timballo of oven-baked anelletti is the most popular “pasta bake” in Sicily, particularly in Palermo the island’s capital. It takes a little time to make but the looks on your guests’ faces will make it worth it!

Sicilian baked anelletti timballo

Timballo di Anelletti.

A timballo of oven-baked anelletti is the most popular “pasta bake” in Sicily, particularly in Palermo the island’s capital. The first time I saw this dish I thought it must be quite difficult to make. But, having done it (I confess with my Sicilian husband’s help!), I can say the only aspect that needs to be taken into account is that, for a pasta dish, it takes quite a long time to make. However, the looks on your family or guests’ faces will be worth the time you put in..I promise you!

(This post first appeared in 2017 but has been updated)

Sicilian baked anelletti timballo

The Pasta

Anelletti are little rings of dry pasta of about one centimeter in diameter. In Palermo, baked anelletti can be found in most restaurants and eateries, from fast food establishments to the bars with delis. This pasta is also cooked a lot at home, although the recipe here is made mostly on Sundays and feast days because of the long preparation required.

ingredients for Sicilian baked anelletti timballo

Rather than make a timballo many people also just bake the pasta with meat sauce in a normal oven dish, which is easier but doesn’t look as impressive!

Sicilian baked anelletti timballo

In Sicily, you can also find single portions of baked anelletti, called “timbaletti”. These are prepared in aluminum containers in the shape of a truncated cone and are a popular takeaway snack.

Sicilian baked anelletti timballo

The base of this baked anelletti dish is a ragu similar to Bolognese. However, in Sicily, the ragu is almost always made with the addition of peas. Apart from the meat sauce ingredients and the anelletti pasta, you only need some cooked ham and cheese. For the inside of the timballo, I used caciocavallo, a stretched-curd cheese produced throughout Southern Italy. I also covered the top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. You can also use pecorino.

Sicilian baked anelletti timballo

Different versions of baked anelletti timballo

Among the many variations of this recipe are some with boiled eggs in the filling, and cheeses other than caciocavallo for example, provola or primo sale. Sometimes the outside of the ‘timballo’ is covered with slices of fried egg plant instead of breadcrumbs. This looks absolutely amazing! Take a look at my parmigiana timballo recipe to see an example.

Sicilian baked anelletti timballo

I hope you give this timballo a go because it’s a wonderful dish, perfect for family occasions and holidays.

If you do make this Sicilian baked anelletti timballo recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. So, please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Buon Appetito

Sicilian baked anelletti timballo


Another anelletti recipe to try.

Anelletti pasta egg plant boats! 

anelletti pasta eggplant boats

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5 from 23 votes
Sicilian baked anelletti timballo
Baked Sicilian Anelletti Timballo
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs

A delicious and impressive looking baked pasta dish from Sicily, which will wow your guests!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Sicilian, Southern Italian
Keyword: anelletti, baked pasta recipe, ragu, Sicilian food, timballo
Servings: 6
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
For the meat sauce (ragu)
  • 400 g minced beef and pork or veal mix (14oz)
  • 1/2 glass red wine
  • 150 g peas (5oz)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 celery stalk
  • 1 medium sized onion peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 350 g tomato passata rustica (12oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Timballo
  • 400 g anelletti (14 oz)
  • breadcrumbs as required
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 g grated parmesan (2oz) grana or pecorino
  • 150 g cooked ham (5oz) cut into cubes
  • 150 g Caciocavallo or Primo sale cheese (5oz) cut into cubes
  1. First make the meat sauce.
  2. Chop the carrot, onion, garlic and celery finely. Fry the vegetables in olive oil until they start to soften. Be careful not to let them to burn!

  3. Add the minced meat and cook until browned. Add the glass of red wine and stir well

  4. When the wine has evaporated pour in the passata and mix it in well with the meat. Add the fresh basil and salt and pepper as required.

  5. Cover the sauce and allow to simmer on a low heat for at least an hour, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick. If it gets too thick add some water.
  6. 10 minutes before the sauce is cooked, add the peas.
While the sauce is cooking you can get on with the rest of the dish.
  1. Put water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil. Cook the pasta 2-3 minutes less than instructed on the packet. Drain and add the anelletti to the meat sauce when it is ready. Mix the pasta and sauce well and allow to cool.

  2. Grease the sides and base of a deep cake tin with olive oil (I use a spring form tin which makes getting the timballo out easier!)

  3. Line the sides and base of the tin with breadcrumbs.
  4. Once the pasta and meat mixture has cooled spoon a thick layer into the base of the tin.
  5. Make another layer from the chopped ham and caciocavallo cheese and finish off with another thick layer of the pasta and meat sauce.
  6. Press the mixture down and cover the top with more breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese.
  7. Cook the timballo at 200 degrees in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
  8. When it is ready, allow to cool for 15 minutes before inverting it onto a serving plate and removing the tin.
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Sicilian baked anelletti timballo

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  • Avatar
    Brent Wells
    June 13, 2020 11:53 pm

    I tried this for the first time tonight and it turned out great!! It does take awhile but consider it a labor of love. It is such an impressive presentation and the taste is amazing!! I will definitely make this again. I did have some initial trouble getting the bread crumbs to stick to the sides of the non-stick pan with the olive oil. 5 Stars All the Way!

    • Jacqui
      June 14, 2020 11:18 am

      Thanks so much for your comment Brent! I’m thrilled your baked anelletti was such a success!

  • Trackback: Baked Eggplant Pasta Anelletti - Your Guardian Chef
  • Avatar
    April 22, 2019 3:05 am

    the oven temp is 200 deg C, not F…I added a 1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce to give a faint touch of bite…

    • Jacqui
      April 22, 2019 1:34 pm

      Thanks for pointing the oven temperature out Max! Yes of course deg C not F. I’ll correct the recipe. Sweet chili sauce sounds like a delicious addition!

  • Avatar
    Edward Evison
    April 15, 2019 5:45 pm

    What are the measurements for the baking tin?

    • Jacqui
      April 16, 2019 8:21 am

      Hi Edward! I used a 25 cm (10″) springform baking tin with a funnel.

  • Avatar
    January 14, 2019 5:39 pm

    I tried making this and it didn’t come out as a cake. I read in other recipes that it requires a lot of cheese or egg to bind the pasta. Did I miss something in this recipe? The combination was tasty, but basically it had to be spooned out of the cake tin.

    • Jacqui
      January 15, 2019 10:22 am

      Dear Sue, I’m sorry to hear that your timballo didn’t stay together. We’ve made this recipe a number of times without extra eggs or cheese and it comes out as a ‘cake’. It’s important to let it sit for at least 15 minutes before turning it out. As the pasta and sauce cools it tends to stick together. Perhaps I need to emphasize that more on the recipe instructions. Of course, you can add eggs or more cheese to help bind it but the taste will be different.

  • Avatar
    November 26, 2018 1:06 pm

    This looks a perfect one pot types of bakes and definitely kids would love this. Awesome

  • Avatar
    Chef Mireille
    November 26, 2018 4:17 am

    This is such a fabulous comfort food dish and I can vouch for it that the work that goes into this dish is so worth it!

  • Avatar
    Nelle Weaver
    November 24, 2018 11:18 pm

    Wow! It looks like cake, but it’s pasta. 😉 My family will love this. I can’t wait to make it for them. There is so much flavor here. Thank you for sharing.
    Nelle Weaver

  • Avatar
    November 24, 2018 9:11 pm

    I think you won me at saying about the looks! I always aim to suprise my guests with what I cook because those looks on their faces are priceless! Thank you for sharing this recipe and I will definitely need to try this baked anelletti!

  • Avatar
    November 24, 2018 6:25 pm

    Impressive for sure! Like all your recipes, this looks so good. I always love a baked pasta. Definitely trying this ASAP!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    November 22, 2018 7:45 pm

    I love this dish! It looks kind of similar to a Norwegian recipe using macaroni. I think that is delicious, hearty and comforting. So I know I would love this one too!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    November 22, 2018 12:49 am

    I can’t wait to make this baked anelletti to impress my friends. This will be a crowd pleaser for sure.

  • Avatar
    Michelle Minnaar
    November 21, 2018 10:38 pm

    I love italian food but I have never even heard of this, I feel so silly! I am going to have to try this for sure with the kids!

  • Avatar
    Jay Joy
    November 21, 2018 5:09 am

    I HAVE to admit, I have never heard of this before! Then I see it and I am like, this does not look like a “pasta bake”. I love that it looks neat ( I am a neat freak) and I can tell it is flavorful.

  • Avatar
    November 20, 2018 4:27 pm

    I have never heard of this before. Sounds interesting, and I love trying dishes from other countries.

  • Avatar
    Karyl Henry
    November 20, 2018 2:27 pm

    Wow, loving all the flavors and textures in this dish! It’s like a full meal in every bite, with the meats and vegetables, and it kind of reminds me of a lasagna

  • Avatar
    November 17, 2018 5:22 pm

    I never heard of this dish before but it looks and sounds so delicious!

  • Avatar
    Jacqueline Meldrum
    November 17, 2018 5:08 pm

    That is so different. I’ve never heard of this before. It’s true you learn something new every day.

  • Avatar
    November 17, 2018 4:28 pm

    I had not come across this dish when I was in Sicily but will make sure to give it a go the next time I visit! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    November 17, 2018 3:18 pm

    This sounds absolutely wonderful. It’s like the ultimate comfort food!

  • Avatar
    November 17, 2018 2:23 pm

    Recipe looks great. I love how well put together it is.

  • Avatar
    November 15, 2018 4:18 pm

    Wow, I’ve never seen such an impressive looking pasta dish before. This is perfect for times when a pasta dish needs a festive touch. Will pin it for later.

  • Avatar
    November 15, 2018 2:25 pm

    I love this recipe! It has such wonderful flavors and is so easy too!

  • Avatar
    Amy | The Cook Report
    November 15, 2018 1:27 pm

    I absolutely love the sound of this, looks so impressive too!

  • Avatar
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
    November 15, 2018 12:53 pm

    This is so cool! I’ve never had a pasta bake cooked in this shape before. Such a cool effect.

  • Avatar
    November 15, 2018 12:51 pm

    Even though it takes a little time to make, omg it is well worth it. Looks sensation and I love crispy it looks on the outside. A brilliant dish for entertaining.

  • Avatar
    March 29, 2018 2:45 pm

    I am making those today but with the aubergines and without meat. I think my recipe is from Catania. Let’s see what happen. If it collapses when turned I wouldn’t let you know

    • admin
      April 1, 2018 9:48 am

      I’m sure your baked anelletti turned out delish Laura! You’re such a great cook! Yes, this is a typical Sicilian recipe so could be from Catania, or Palermo! Happy Easter dear, Jacqui

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