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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.

Print

Easy Baked Pasta


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.

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  1. alicia

    March 28th, 2011 at 4:59 am

    I love baked pastas – so easy and satisfying! Your pictures are GORGEOUS.

  2. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    thanks so much Alicia!

  3. Mary (Sisters Running the Kitchen)

    March 28th, 2011 at 5:00 am

    yum. all of your recipes are awesome!! I love dishes like this!

  4. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    thank you Mary! You are so sweet to me.

  5. Audrey Mora

    March 28th, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I love your site! Your recipe’s are easy to follow and looks yummy like this one.

  6. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    thank you Audrey!

  7. marinda

    March 28th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    This looks delish! I must add this to my menu for next week.

    p.s. Happy birthday. πŸ™‚

  8. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    thank you Marinda! πŸ™‚

  9. Jennifer @ Licious Food

    March 28th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Yum, this sounds easy peasy! I love baked pasta, more so in the autumn and winter months.

  10. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Me too. It is so comforting.

  11. Jesse

    March 28th, 2011 at 1:36 pm

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

  12. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    it is so good. I love a baked pasta dish for dinner.

  13. Debra

    March 28th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    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!)

  14. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:28 pm

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

  15. Sarah

    March 28th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    This looks perfect for those cold rainy days we’ve been having!

  16. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    It is perfect for a rainy evening. Easy and comforting.

  17. tamara

    March 29th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    This looks great. I have added it to my dinner list. Thnaks!!!!

  18. bakedbree

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    you are very welcome.

  19. jennifer

    April 7th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    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!

  20. bakedbree

    April 7th, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    thank you Jennifer!!

  21. Melanie

    April 12th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    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.

  22. Natalie

    April 14th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    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.

  23. Foxy

    August 7th, 2011 at 11:40 am

    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™‚

  24. bakedbree

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    1 big jar. Just the normal size in the grocery store.

  25. Foxy

    August 14th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Fixed it – loved it!

  26. bakedbree

    August 14th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    great!

  27. AshevilleYardFarmer

    November 17th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    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.

  28. bakedbree

    November 18th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

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

  29. Kathy

    December 26th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    How many does this feed???

  30. bakedbree

    December 31st, 2011 at 12:52 am

    6?

  31. Sally

    March 19th, 2012 at 11:14 am

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

  32. bakedbree

    March 27th, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Not at all!

  33. Alba Valdez

    May 7th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    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 !

  34. bakedbree

    May 7th, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I hope that you both loved it!

  35. Fairina

    May 26th, 2012 at 3:43 am

    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™‚

  36. bakedbree

    May 28th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    That sounds great!

  37. Navjot kaur

    June 11th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

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

  38. bakedbree

    June 12th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    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.

  39. Lisa

    October 17th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Going to make this for dinner tonight! Thanks for the recipe!

  40. bakedbree

    October 20th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    You are welcome Lisa!

  41. Stephanie

    October 17th, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    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.

  42. bakedbree

    October 20th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

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

  43. Stephanie

    October 21st, 2012 at 9:59 am

    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!

  44. bakedbree

    November 2nd, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Nice to hear!

  45. Jenny

    October 23rd, 2012 at 12:57 am

    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!

  46. bakedbree

    November 2nd, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Of course, adapt it however you would like.

  47. Anastassiya

    October 27th, 2012 at 11:33 am

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

  48. bakedbree

    November 2nd, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I am so glad!

  49. Linda

    October 29th, 2012 at 8:10 pm

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

  50. bakedbree

    November 2nd, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Looks like I made a mistake. Sorry.

  51. Tamarah

    December 31st, 2012 at 10:40 am

    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™‚

  52. angela

    April 21st, 2013 at 11:51 am

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

  53. bakedbree

    April 22nd, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I hope that it turned out for you.

  54. SueK

    August 2nd, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    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!

  55. bakedbree

    August 3rd, 2013 at 11:39 am

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

  56. LIndsey

    April 28th, 2014 at 11:45 am

    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!

  57. bakedbree

    April 28th, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    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.

  58. Sheila @ Sweet Baked Life

    September 29th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Hi Bree — I just made this wonderful baked pasta dish last night. It was soooo good! πŸ™‚

  59. bakedbree

    September 30th, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I am so glad you like it!

  60. Christy

    August 5th, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Love this recipe! I make it once a month or so πŸ™‚

  61. bakedbree

    August 16th, 2015 at 7:25 pm

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

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