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Anelli: Everything About the Pasta Shape

If you’re familiar with Spaghetti-Os, you definitely know about anelli pasta. This distinctly circular little pasta may look like breakfast cereal, but its history actually goes way back. 

Anelli, which means “little rings” in Italian, are small, thin rings of pasta that originated from Sicily, Italy. These little hoops of pasta are often found in soups and salads, particularly in light, summery dishes.  

Today, we’ll talk about anelli pasta and provide delicious recipes you can try yourself. Let’s dive in!

Anelli: Origin and Meaning

Here’s a table with essential facts about anelli: 

Pasta Shape:Anelli
Pasta Type:Ring-shaped Pasta
Origin:Sicily, Italy
Meaning:Italian term for “Little Rings”
Synonyms:Anelletti, anellini, cerchionetti, taraddhuzzi, anidduzzi
Similar Shapes:Tubetini, Calamaretti, Tortellini

Where Did Anelli Originate?

Anelli pasta came from Sicily, where it was traditionally used to make timballo. Timballo is a Sicilian baked pasta dish featuring pasta, rice, meat, fish, or vegetables. 

Today, anelli can be found not only throughout Italy but also all over the world. It is especially popular in Puglia and Sicily, where its use isn’t limited to being served as pasta in a can. 

What Does Anelli Mean?

The word “anelli” directly translates to “little rings.” Pasta makers in Southern Italy produce different variations of this pasta, including thick, thin, ridged, and even smooth. Traditionally, this pasta is slow-cooked in broth to make a warm and hearty soup, but it can also be boiled in salted water like other pasta shapes. 

What Is the Difference Between Anelli and Tortellini?

Both anelli and tortellini are round, ring-shaped pastas. However, there is one key difference: tortellini is a type of stuffed pasta while anelli is not. Anelli are small, thin rings of pasta often used in brothy soups and pasta salads while tortellini is often paired with a simple sauce to elevate its filling. Although these pasta shapes aren’t interchangeable, they are both unique and delicious in their own right. 

Traditional Dishes Suitable for Anelli Pasta

Here are some traditional dishes you can make with anelli pasta:

Anelli al Forno

This warm Italian dish is jam-packed with traditional Sicilian flavors. Baking anelli with italian sausage, eggplants, and some fennel is sure to fill up your belly with Italian goodness. 

Brodo di Carne with Anelli 

Is there anything better than eating a bowl of savory warm soup on a cold day? This dish contains anelli pasta that’s simmered in beef broth and topped with small portions of polpettine and parmesan cheese. 

These simple but delicious dishes are just a few ways you can enjoy anelli pasta.  

Final Thoughts 

Despite its rather undignified status as tin-can pasta, Anelli pasta is an extremely versatile ingredient that can be a perfect addition to most dishes. Whether it’s served swimming in warm broth or baked inside Timpallo, anelli is a great ingredient to elevate your pasta dishes. 

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