Baked Ziti

Quick Summary

A big pan of Baked Ziti filled with pasta, cheese, sausage, and marinara sauce just might be the best dinner ever, especially when garlic bread is served on the side. This baked pasta is a family favorite!

Baked Ziti is a staple dinner recipe at our house. Our boys LOVE this cheesy baked pasta recipe. My recipe makes a full 9×13-inch pan which makes it really good for feeding a crowd or having leftovers.

Leftovers always come in handy, especially during the week and our boys are always happy to see baked ziti on the menu, even a few times in one week. It’s that good!

This baked ziti recipe is also perfect to make for someone who needs a big, comforting meal. Take it to someone welcoming a new baby, to someone who is under the weather, or to someone who just needs a delicious meal!

You can’t go wrong with this pasta dish. It’s a classic Italian that everyone loves!

Table of Contents

  1. Ziti Pasta
  2. Marinara Sauce
  3. Sausage Baked Ziti
  4. Ingredients
  5. How to Make Baked Ziti
  6. How to Freeze
  7. Serving Suggestions
  8. More Pasta Recipes
  9. Baked Ziti Recipe

Ziti Pasta

Ziti is a tubed pasta like penne, but the edges are cut in a straight line instead of at a slant. Look for ziti pasta in the pasta aisle. If you can’t find ziti, penne is a great option since they are very similar. If you need the recipe to be gluten-free, you can use gluten-free pasta.

Marinara Sauce

We love to use our Homemade Easy Marinara Sauce or Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce for the very best flavor. Of course, if you have a favorite store bought marinara sauce you can use that in this recipe to save some time. I always keep our homemade marinara sauce in the freezer so it is ready to go! It keeps this recipe super simple!

Sausage Baked Ziti

This baked ziti recipe is made with Italian sausage. You could also use ground beef or turkey, whatever you and your family like best. If you want to make a vegetarian baked ziti, you can leave out the meat and add in your favorite vegetables. This baked pasta dish is easy to adapt to your liking.

Ingredients

  • Ziti
  • Olive oil
  • Italian sausage
  • Marinara sauce
  • Cheese– you will need ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Egg
  • Herbs– fresh basil and dried Italian seasoning.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

How to Make Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is easy to make, there are a few steps, but the steps are easy! Let’s get started!

  • Let’s cook some pasta! Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Don’t over cook the pasta because it will keep cook more in the oven.
  • Drain the pasta and put it in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and give it a good stir. This is going to keep everything from sticking together! Set aside.
  • Now it’s time to prep the sausage. Cook it over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it’s no longer pink. This should take 5-7 minutes. Once done, drain the fat and set it aside with the pasta.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine ricotta, egg, half the mozzarella cheese, ½ cup Parmesan, and all the seasonings.
  • Combine the pasta, ricotta mixture, marinara sauce, and cooked sausage. Stir gently so the pasta noodles stay intact, and then pour it into a greased 9×13-inch pan.
  • More cheese, please! Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Bake until bubbly! The cheese will be golden brown and your house will smell amazing!
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes, garnish with fresh basil, and serve warm. It’s so cheesy, so filling, and so tasty. Bon appetit! 
  • If you have leftovers, store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

How to Freeze

  • Here’s a great way to have THE BEST dinner ready when you need it: assemble everything up until it’s time to bake in a disposable aluminum pan or freezer safe pan, then seal it well with a lid or plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Pop it in the freezer and freeze for up to 2 months. Let it defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking! Then follow, the baking instructions.
  • You can also freeze baked ziti. I like to freeze leftovers in individual portions. You can pull out the baked ziti when you need an easy lunch or dinner! Reheat in the microwave.

Serving Suggestions

Baked ziti is very filling and good by itself, but if you want to serve a full meal, here are a few of our favorite side dishes to serve with baked ziti.

  • Garlic Bread
  • Simple Arugula Salad
  • Easy Green Salad
  • Simple Kale Salad
  • Roasted Broccoli
  • Simple Skillet Green Beans
  • Roasted Asparagus
  • Caprese Salad
  • Bruschetta

More Pasta Recipes

If you are looking for more delicious pasta recipes, we have you covered! I have a feeling you will love them all!

  • Rigatoni with Sausage
  • Cacio e Pepe
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Spaghetti Carbonara
  • Vegetable Lasagna
  • Pasta Primavera
  • 4-Ingredient Ravioli Lasagna
  • Pasta Pomodoro

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