Easy Baked Pasta

easy baked ziti recipeWhen I am craving something comforting and warm, I want this easy baked pasta for dinner. It has all of the things that I want when I have had a long and trying day. Pasta? Check. Cheese? Three kinds. Crusty top? Yup. We eat a lot of vegetarian dishes at our house to observe Meatless Monday and now Lent; I cannot have enough vegetarian recipes in my arsenal. What I love about this baked pasta dish is that I can put it all together earlier in the day (or freeze it) and put in the oven when we are ready for dinner. Everyone in my house likes this because it is simple and filling. I can also hide some veggies in it, sauteed mushrooms and peppers are so good in this pasta. Of course, you could add some sausage or meatballs too. This is my favorite way to make (and eat) baked pasta, but I am sure that there a million ways to make it.

Of course you can use a jarred tomato sauce for this recipe, but I like to make my own. I like to make huge batches of sauce and keep them in my fridge and freezer.

easy baked ziti recipe1 pound rigatoni (or whatever tube shape you have)
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar tomato sauce

easy baked ziti recipeCook the rigatoni in a pot of boiling, salted water. Cook according to the package directions, but drain when the pasta still has some bite to it, maybe 2 minutes before the end of the cooking time. It is also going to cook in the oven, you do not want your pasta to be overcooked. Reserve a little cooking water.

easy baked ziti recipeMix together the ricotta cheese, garlic, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup parsley. The rest of the cheese and parsley will be used for the top.

easy baked ziti recipeSeason well with salt and pepper.

easy baked ziti recipeAdd the ricotta cheese mixture and half of the tomato sauce to the pot.

easy baked ziti recipeMix until it coats all of the pasta. If it is too thick, add a bit of the pasta water to thin it out.

easy baked ziti recipeSpread the pasta evenly into a 9×13 casserole dish.

easy baked ziti recipeSpread the rest of the pasta sauce over the top.

easy baked ziti recipeAdd the mozzarella cheese, remaining Parmesan, and remaining parsley to the top.

easy baked ziti recipeCover with foil and put the baked ziti in the fridge until you are ready to bake it off. Or cook it in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes covered with tin foil. Take the tin foil off and cook for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

easy baked ziti recipeLet the pan sit for at least 10 minutes before you cut it. If I am really motivated, I serve with with a salad and garlic bread.

Easy Baked Pasta Bake

Easy Baked Pasta Bake

Yield: serves 6 to 8
Easy Baked Pasta Bake - when I don't feel like making lasagna, I make this. I love the cruncy corners so much.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rigatoni (or whatever tube shape you have)
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar tomato sauce

Instructions

  1. Cook the rigatoni in a pot of boiling, salted water. Cook according to the package directions, but drain when the pasta still has some bite to it, maybe 2 minutes before the end of the cooking time. It is also going to cook in the oven, you do not want your pasta to be overcooked. Reserve a little cooking water.
  2. Mix together the ricotta cheese, garlic, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup parsley. The rest of the cheese and parsley will be used for the top.
  3. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the ricotta cheese mixture and half of the tomato sauce to the pot.
  5. Mix until it coats all of the pasta. If it is too thick, add a bit of the pasta water to thin it out.
  6. Spread the pasta evenly into a 9Γ—13 casserole dish.
  7. Spread the rest of the pasta sauce over the top.
  8. Add the mozzarella cheese, remaining Parmesan, and remaining parsley to the top.
  9. Cover with foil and put the baked ziti in the fridge until you are ready to bake it off. Or cook it in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes covered with tin foil. Take the tin foil off and cook for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  10. Let the pan sit for at least 10 minutes before you cut it.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0 Total Fat: 0g

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62 Comments

  • oh. em. gee. this looks sooo good. i def want to make it sooooon! thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Delish! I always love your recipes.

    This is also how I make baked ziti in a crockpot — and you don’t even have to boil the pasta first! Just put the whole thing in the crockpot, turn it on for however long your want it to cook, and you’re all set! (Now I’m hungry — gotta go!)

    Reply
    • I never would have thought to make ziti that way. I am going to try that next time.

      Reply
  • Hi Bree,

    I am thoroughly enjoying your website and looking forward to trying many of your recipes. I love the time you take in sharing your beautiful photographs as well. I’ve got the baked ziti ready to put in the oven. Yeah! Thank you!

    Reply
  • This was the perfect meal to get ready during the day and bake when we came home from baseball. A keeper for sure! Thanks again.

    Reply
  • I saw this about 2 hrs ago, now I just got back from the grocery store with all the ingredients, I obviously couldn’t wait to try it lol. I think I am going to add some sausage though, I can’t help it I love meat too much.

    Reply
  • This sounds great! I want to fix tonite, but don’t know how many ounces “one jar” of tomato sauce is. PLEASE POST ASAP!
    Thanks πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Yum! Love your gorgeous photos too!
    I substituted arugula from our garden for the parsley (turned out to be about a cup chopped).
    Also used thawed-out stewed tomatoes from the garden instead of tomato sauce. Love recipes like this where I can incorporate what we’ve grown.

    Reply
    • I am very jealous of all of your home grown veg. Glad that you liked this recipe.

      Reply
  • I hope you don’t mind, I posted this recipe on my Facebook page for Meatless Monday. Looks delicious! Thanks!

    Reply
  • I’m very excited about this dish. I just placed it in the fridge and I’m going to serve it with salad and and garlic bread tonight for my boo… Thanks for the pictures, without them I wouldn’t have known what I was doing! I also incorporated chicken, so we’ll see how that goes. Thanks so much for the recipe !

    Reply
  • Thank you for this easy recipe. I just tried it, and my kids loved it. I made a lil addition of a bunch of finely cut spinach and topped it with sliced frozen meatballs. Turned out great. Served it with grilled potato wedges πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • I have mozarella cheese and proceesed cheese…I cannot find ricotta and parmesian here…can yu tell me the substitute?

    Reply
    • Parmesan is a hard grating cheese, and ricotta is a soft cheese. I am not sure what the sub would be for Parm, but you could use cottage cheese for the ricotta.

      Reply
  • Was looking for an easy recipe for a domestically challenged friend of mine to make for his girlfriend as an “I’m sorry” dinner, and ended up going to the store to grab the rest of the stuff I needed myself. Stuck to the recipe this time, but if it turns out okay, gonna add chicken next time. Great recipe!

    Also, I doubled it while I was making it, since it’s easy to just separate it into two dishes and stash it for those crazy nights during the week you never expect.

    Reply
    • That was nice of you to do for your friend… I hope she accepted his apology.

      Reply
      • She did! And to top it off, he got double brownie points for how good it was, and he could not BELIEVE how easy it was. His exact words were, “I always thought of pasta as boil it, throw in ragu, and cut up some sausage. Never doing that again!” πŸ˜€

        Mine turned out awesome as well, so bravo times two, Bree!

        Reply
  • This looks great! Unfortunately I’m allergic to ricotta cheese (and cottage, feta, and most others!). Is it okay to leave it out? I can eat mozzarella and parmesan. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  • Thanks very mych for amazing recipe :)I cooked baker pasta for my family,and they all been in love this dish:)

    Reply
  • Hi. You have garlic listed twice in the easy baked pasta recipe. Is this correct?

    Reply
  • Thank you SO much! I am very new to planning meals…food shopping…and all around cooking in general! This helped me throw together an amazing dish with ingredients I already had in the kitchen. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • I just made this and completely forgot to add the garlic :(( will it still taste good? should i put the garlic on top?

    Reply
  • Just saw this recipe after copying down your Hot Corn Dip recipe. Thanks for sharing. Would you suggest freezing with all the ingredients together before baking or bake first, divide in half and freeze. Thank you!

    Reply
    • I like to freeze it after I’ve baked it. Then you just need to reheat.

      Reply
  • I love this recipe and it is now a favorite in our house. Question, if I make it ahead and freeze it, do I need to bake it longer in the oven or should I thaw it before cooking? Thank you!

    Reply
    • I am so glad. You actually can do it either way. I tend to just cook it longer in the oven, but sometimes if I think about it I’ll put it in the fridge to thaw the day before.

      Reply
    • That’s awesome! I haven’t made it in awhile, I need to add it to the rotation.

      Reply

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