Baked Ziti is a perfect meal when you are entertaining. It’s easy to prepare and makes a large amount of food whether you add meat or keep it vegetarian. For our little family, we usually have leftovers for days out of one batch of baked ziti.
I love anything with sauce and cheese, so this is one of my favorite meals. You can also freeze leftovers for another time, or even double the recipe to have some frozen for a quick meal. If you do freeze it, reheat your leftovers in a pot with a little extra sauce to keep it from drying out.
Baked Ziti can be made with or without meat. I generally don’t care for meat in my pasta, so I leave it out. Most of the time, sausage is the meat of choice to add to ziti. If you want to do that, brown the sausage and mix it in with the noodles and sauce before layering the dish.
We like to buy large blocks of cheese and shred it ourselves. Sometimes I do only what I need for a meal. Other times I shred it all and add a bit of cornstarch to keep it from clumping together. My favorite side is homemade bread to dip in the sauce and cheese.
Step by Step
Preheat the oven to 350F. Boil the pasta noodles for 8 minutes, until they are al dente. They will cook a bit more in the oven, so you don’t want them to get too soft right now.
After the noodles have cooked, drain them and return to the pot. Stir in the pasta sauce to cover the noodles.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, basil, and pepper.
Spoon half of the noodle mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
Spread the entire cheese mixture on top of the noodles. Carefully spread it out to try to cover most of the noodles.
Add another layer with the remaining noodles and sauce.
Top the noodles with the last half of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes to let the cheese brown slightly.
- 3 cups ziti noodles (uncooked)
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozarella cheese (shredded)
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Boil pasta for 8 minutes and drain
- Stir in spaghetti sauce and simmer 10 minutes
- In medium bowl stir together ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and seasonings
- In a 9×13 baking dish, spoon 1/2 pasta mixture
- Spread cheese mixture on top
- Layer with remaining pasta
- Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese
- Cover loosely with foil
- Bake 25 minutes
- Remove foil and bake 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly
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