Baked Ziti

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Baked ziti is the ultimate comfort dish! It’s creamy, flavorful, and has that perfect crispy cheese layer on top along with dollops of ricotta.

Let’s discover how to create BAKED ZITI, the ideal family dinner everyone will adore! With the creamy ricotta, crispy cheese topping, and the tangy-sweet pasta sauce, this dish becomes truly unforgettable. It’s simple to prepare and can even be made ahead for those hectic days.

Baked Ziti

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course


**Pasta & Sauce:**

  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 to 6 cups marinara sauce for extra sauciness
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

**Cheese Layers:**

  • 1 to 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, ground beef, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Brown the meat, breaking it up with a spoon into large chunks.
  • Once the meat is browned, pour in the marinara sauce. Cover and let it simmer on low heat.
  • While the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for about 2 minutes less than al dente, as it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain the pasta.
  • Uncover the sauce and stir in the heavy cream, chopped basil, and parmesan. Mix well and combine with the cooked pasta.
  • In a large oven-safe casserole dish, layer half of the pasta. Dollop ricotta cheese on top, then sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan. Add the remaining pasta on top, followed by another layer of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan.
  • Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then switch the oven to broil for a few minutes to crisp up the top. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
  • Remove from the oven when the top is golden and bubbly.
  • Serve warm and enjoy this comforting meal with your loved ones!

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