Hallelujah! I finally found a dish that the whole family loves. This Baked Ziti is easy, cheesy, and totally delicious. It’s full of rich and meaty tomato sauce and loads of creamy mozzarella cheese. The whole family gobbled it up and came back asking for more. That’s a winner in my book.
Disclosure – I may get a small commission for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.
Start With the Sauce
The first step to this Baked Ziti is simmering the sauce.
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef then add the can of tomatoes and tomato sauce and your garlic and spices.
You can add garlic and onions to the ground beef if you’d like.
I just didn’t have any and the recipe was perfectly good without it.
Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
If you only have 20 minutes, that will work too.
You just want to give the sauce time to thicken and get nice and rich and yummy.
When your sauce is done, spoon out about 3 or 4 cups of sauce into a separate bowl to cool.
Cook The Pasta That YOU Like
Now, you don’t have to actually use ziti noodles in your Baked Ziti.
You could use penne or rigatoni or even rotini.
Just use what you have or what you like.
You want to stop cooking the pasta noodles when they’re almost al dente because you’ll be cooking the pasta more when it’s in the oven.
I personally like my pasta softer so I cooked mine al dente.
When your pasta is done cooking, pour it into a colander and rinse the pasta with cool water so that it’ll stop the cooking process.
Be sure to drain your pasta well so that your Baked Ziti won’t be runny.
Cheesy Cheese Cheesiness
A pound and a half of mozzarella. Need I say more?
Oh yes, ricotta. And Parmesan. Okay, I’m done. That’s pretty cheesy.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, two cups of the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, the egg, and the salt and pepper.
Add the cooled pasta and the cooled reserved sauce and mix it all around.
Bring Out The Big Guns … err, Big Bakers
You’ll want large lasagna baker or another large baking dish for this Baked Ziti.
I used a 3-quart baking dish and you can see how my ziti is mounded over the top of the dish. It all stayed in the pan. Nothing spilled out.
But I’d recommend a slightly larger baking dish for this Baked Ziti.
In your large baking dish, layer half the coated pasta then half the remaining sauce then half the remaining mozzarella.
Then repeat with another layer of pasta, sauce, and mozzarella.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
After removing from the oven, allow the Baked Ziti to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish with additional Parmesan or parsley.
Save this Baked Ziti recipe to your favorite Italian Dishes board or your Pasta Recipes board.
Or share these images on your favorite social media pages!
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes , with juice
- 2 cans (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
- 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 16 oz ziti pasta, cooked and drained
- 15 oz Ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg
- Brown ground beef and drain well. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian Seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove 3-4 cups of sauce to another bowl to cool down.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions then rinse with cool water and drain pasta well.
- In separate bowl, combine ricotta, two cups of mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. Add pasta and reserved sauce. Mix to combine.
- In large, greased casserole dish, layer half the pasta mixture then half the remaining sauce then half the remaining mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of pasta then sauce then mozzarella.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Fiesta Lasagna Baker, 9 by 13-Inch, Lapis
Qimh Colander collapsible, Colander Strainer Over The Sink Vegetable/Fruit Colanders Strainers With Extendable Handles, Folding Strainer for Kitchen,6 Quart
U.S. Kitchen Supply - Premium Quality Over The Sink Stainless Steel Oval Colander with Fine Mesh 6 Quart Strainer Basket & Expandable Rubber Grip Handles - Strain, Drain, Rinse Fruits, Vegetables
Kitchen Gizmo Snap N Strain Strainer - Orange | Patented Clip On Silicone Colander | Fits all Pots and Bowls
Cooks Standard Classic stockpot, 20 Quart, Stainless Steel
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 532Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 674mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 41g
Nutrition Information Provided For Educational and Informational Purposes Only.