Baked Ziti

Layers of pasta, sauce, and cheese without all the fuss of lasagna!

Baked Ziti
  • Active: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yields: at least 8 servings


  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk Italian Sausage or ground beef or pork
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or basil) minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large jar of marinara sauce (about 32 ounces)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese, grated or shredded
  • 1 heaping cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup gated parmesan cheese or pecorino cheese


  1. Cook the pasta!

    Heat a large pot of salted water (for every 2 quarts of water, one tablespoon of salt) to a strong boil. Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente -- edible but still firm to the bite.

    Drain the pasta and toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce.

  2. Brown the meat.

    While the water is heating in the previous step, start on the sauce. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the bulk sasauge or ground meat. Break up any large chunks of sasauge as it cooks. Brown well.

    Don't stir that often or it will be more difficult for the meat to brown. If you are using gound beef or pork instead of sasauge, sprinkle with a little salt.

  3. Make the sauce.

    When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and stir well to combine. Sauté everything until the onions are transluscent and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes.

    Add the garlic, rosemary or basil, Italian seasonning and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a simmer.

    Add salt and pepper and adjust seasoning to your taste.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Layer in the casserole dish.

    Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole pan, then dot the surface with half the ricotta cheese. Ladle a spoonful of sauce into the pasta, stir it well, and then add the pasta into the casserole.

    Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta, dot the remaining ricotta cheese ove the pasta, and sprinkle on top botht he mozzerella and the parmesan cheese.

  6. Bake!

    Bake in the oven at 350°F until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is melted, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Find the original recipe at Simply Recipes by Elise Bauer.