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Easy Baked Ziti

Try Baked Ziti, the classic Italian-American dish, for Sunday dinner. This pasta casserole dish is easy to make!

April 26, 2022
Baked ZitiPhoto By Petite Gourmets
Difficulty Easy
Servings 8 people
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 35 mins
Total 55 mins

Baked Ziti Recipe Video



  1. Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
  2. Add 4 liters of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a large pot. Heat the brine until it boils. Add the ziti pasta and cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.
  3. Then drain the pasta using a colander. Rinse with cold water for about 30 seconds. Set the pasta water aside.
  4. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the peeled Italian sausages to the pan. Cut the sausages into small pieces and fry them, stirring occasionally, until browned.
  5. When the sausages are well browned, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and browned.
  6. Prepare the sauce. Add the marinara, pasta water, Italian seasoning, thyme, and paprika to the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Combine the minced sausages with the sauce.
  8. Put a ladle of sauce into the pasta and mix well.
  9. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Then sprinkle half of the ricotta cheese on the tray. Add the pasta to the casserole. Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese on top.
  10. Bake for about 20–25 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is melted.
  11. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
  12. Sprinkle with parsley or fresh basil on top. Serve it hot.

Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Homemade Marinara Sauce Ingredients

Homemade Marinara Sauce Directions

  • To make this gorgeous marinara sauce at home, start by adding 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large saucepan and heat it on medium-high heat.
  • Then add the chopped onion and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.
  • Add finely chopped garlic and canned tomato paste to the sautéed onions and cook for about a minute while stirring constantly.
  • Pour in the red wine and cook for another whole minute while stirring constantly.
  • Then add crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and gently boil for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the sauce has cooked for an entire hour, take it off the heat and either serve warm immediately or store it for later.
  • Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 1 Baked Ziti
    Serves 8
    Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 32 g41%
    Cholesterol 119 mg39.7%
    Sodium 1412 mg61.4%
    Protein 30.9 g61.8%
    Potassium 781 mg16.6%
    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


    • Use ziti pasta. If you can't find the ziti, you can replace it with rigatoni, penne, or any other short pasta shape that will hold the sauce.
    • Be careful not to overcook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, it will cook again in the sauce. Cook the pasta al dente, or 2 minutes less than the cooking time. Otherwise, the pasta will become soft.
    • Separate the water from the pasta.Pasta water is full of starch. This will thicken the sauce.
    • To add flavor, add 1/2 cup of wine to the recipe.
    • Use fresh mozzarella. Regular mozzarella is saltier. This is why fresh mozzarella is the best. If you're still using regular mozzarella, reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.
    • You can use ground beef, chicken, turkey, or pork instead of Italian sausage.
    • To make the recipe vegetarian, you can use mushrooms, spinach, or carrots instead of sausage. Be sure to sauté the vegetables before adding them. Thus, they do not leave water in the pasta mixture.
    • Place the pasta casserole on a rimmed baking sheet or dish.
    • Note the order in which you add the cheese to the baking sheet. Parmesan cheese browns faster than shredded mozzarella, so line the bottom of the baking sheet with parmesan.
    • Allow it to cool before cutting the Ziti and placing it in the oven. Cheese melts quickly when it comes out of the oven and hardens faster when you cut it.
    • Use gluten-free pasta to make the recipe gluten-free.
    Rate This Recipe

    Baked Ziti is a casserole dish prepared with ziti pasta, meat sauce, and three kinds of cheese. It combines the flavors of homemade marinara sauce, Italian sausage, and cheese to create the perfect taste. Homemade Baked Ziti is perfect for family dinners or on the weekend.

    This hearty and tasty ziti pasta recipe will satisfy a whole family. Serve this Baked Ziti Pasta with sauteed veggies or a salad, which can be made vegetarian or vegan.

    What Is Baked Ziti?

    Baked Ziti is a classic Italian casserole dish. Short ziti pasta, meat sauce, and three cheese fillings are the main ingredients of this dish.

    Although traditionally prepared with Italian sausage, it can also be made with ground beef, chicken, or pork. You can also turn this dish into a vegetarian recipe. You can prepare a vegetarian version of the baked ziti recipe by using mushrooms or spinach instead of ground beef.

    What is Ziti Pasta?

    Ziti is a type of hollow pasta in the form of a short, straight tube. Ziti gets its name from the word zita, which means bride. In Naples, ziti is the classic pasta served at weddings.

    Ziti pasta is ideal for recipes calling for thick and creamy sauces. Thanks to its tubular shape, it holds the sauce. It goes well with tomato sauce. It's also great for ziti pasta casserole dishes. It is used in popular casserole dishes such as Pasta al Forno and Baked Ziti.

    What Is the Difference Between Ziti and Lasagna?

    Baked ziti and Lasagna are similar dishes. In both dishes, the pasta is placed in a casserole dish with layers of sauce and cheese and baked in the oven. Ziti and lasagna are different types of pasta. The ziti are short and tubular. Lasagna is in layers.

    In making Baked Ziti, meat sauce and three different types of cheese are added to the pasta. In making Lasagna, meat sauce and bechamel sauce are used between the pasta layers. The top layer is sprinkled with mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta cheese.

    How to Make Vegan Baked Ziti?

    You can make this Baked Ziti recipe vegan. For this, vegan ground beef instead of ground beef; Use vegan versions of ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella. Skip the cashew cheese if you have a nut allergy.

    To make Vegan Baked Ziti, cook and drain the ziti pasta. Then, Cook vegan seitan sausages in a pan with oil. Pour marinade sauce into a lightly greased casserole dish. Add the sausages to the sauce and mix the ingredients. Then sprinkle the cashew cheese into the casserole dish. Add the pasta and pour the remaining sauce over it. Sprinkle vegan cheese on top and bake in the oven at 375 °F for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

    What To Serve with Baked Ziti?

    Baked Ziti is a hearty meal on its own. However, it goes well with many side dishes. Serve with vegetable garnishes such as cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green beans.

    Here are our delicious recipes that you can serve with Baked Ziti:

    How To Store Baked Ziti?

    Homemade Baked Ziti can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. You can also prepare it ahead of time or reheat it.

    How Long Does Ziti Keep in the Refrigerator? After cooking the ziti, let it cool down. Then store in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags in the refrigerator.This way, cooked ziti will last 3 days in the refrigerator.

    Can Baked Ziti Be Frozen? Cooked ziti can be frozen in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Wrap the casserole dish with cling film and foil. Then store it in the freezer.

    How to Reheat Baked Ziti? To reheat the ziti you have kept in the refrigerator, bake it at 350 °F for about 30 minutes. To thaw frozen cooked ziti, place it in the refrigerator the night before. Then bake at 350 °F for about 30-35 minutes until the cheese is melted.

    Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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