It’s the ultimate comfort food! Easy Baked Ziti — pasta in casserole form. Noodles and crumbled Italian sausage are drenched in tomatoes and cheeses, with a melted blanket of more cheese on top.
Why You Will Love This Recipe //
- Pasta, sausage, tomato sauce and a variety of cheeses is such a wonderfully indulgent dish. It’s a hug from your favorite Italian nonna.
- It makes a great sharing dish for the whole family. And if one dish won’t be enough, it’s easy to double.
- Even if you don’t finish this dish in one evening, just store it and keep it for the next time. It will still taste fantastic for lunch!
- There is an assortment of ways you can alter this recipe to suit your tastes. Change up the meat, the pasta, and the cheese. Add veggies. It’s just as dynamic as any other pasta dish.
- 1 1/2 cups ziti pasta
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Italian sausage, crumbled
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp red chili flakes
- 1 cup marinara or crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup mozzarella, shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan, grated
- pinch of salt and pepper
- fresh basil leaves for garnish
How to Make // The Steps
Step 1: Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat the olive oil in a pan on MED-HIGH and saute the chopped onions for 2 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan and brown the meat well.
Step 3: Once the meat is browned add the marinara sauce and half of the ricotta cheese. Combine well, then add the cooked pasta and season with salt and pepper. Stir until the pasta is coated with the sauce.
Step 4: Transfer half of the pasta mixture into a casserole pan, then top with the remaining ricotta cheese. Add the other half of the pasta mixture and sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top.
Step 5: Bake the ziti pasta in the oven until the cheese is melted and browned, about 20 minutes. Let the pasta cool down before serving. Enjoy!
What To Serve With Baked Ziti //
Simple Challah Bread – I have made this recipe over and over again, and every time, I fall in love with it even more! It requires no kneading and would be perfect for soaking up all that tomato sauce.
Roasted Carrots with Chardonnay – So flavorful and yet so easy to make. The carrots balance out the indulgence of the ziti but with a hint of chardonnay that makes these “fun” carrots.
Arugula Caprese Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing – A fresh spin on the classic Caprese salad. Light and fresh with crunchy croutons.
Kale Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crisp Croutons – The real star of this salad is the homemade parmesan crisp. For those of you who don’t think the Parmesan in the pasta will be enough!
Of course, you can! Simply leave out the meat and add in your favorite vegetables and herbs. A great vegetarian version would be to toss the pasta with tomato sauce, sliced zucchini and basil leaves.
Ziti is similar to penne, a tubed shaped pasta. The only difference are the edges, otherwise it’s almost identical. Feel free to use any tube-shaped pasta that can hold the sauce inside.
You can substitute the sausage with a variety of meats, such as chicken, ground turkey, ground beef or even meatballs!
How To Store Baked Ziti //
Let the ziti cool completely to avoid condensation forming in the storage container. Now, you can either store it as is or divide it up into smaller portions, which will make reheating a simpler task. Your call. You can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you don’t plan on eating it within that time, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. You can then warm it up in the oven at 350°F until the cheese starts to bubble.