Baked ziti recipe (the really easy version!)

Baked Ziti

I recently discovered a love for baked ziti after one of our favorite restaurants started serving it as a special about once a week. It’s simple, really. A baked casserole with penne pasta, sauce, meat and cheese. We were craving Italian-type food this weekend and wanted the house to be warm and smell good so we decided to try our own baked ziti.

We looked online and didn’t find a recipe we wanted to replicate so we kind of took the best of some of the recipes and made up our own version. We plan to try it again with perhaps more cheese and maybe some veggies but were pleased with the first attempt!

What I loved about this recipe is that it was easy and had a tiny bit of “zing” but didn’t require any special seasoning or blends.

Ready to make your own?

Baked ziti ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground Italian sausage (we used precooked)
  • 1 jar (28 ounce) of fire-roasted spaghetti sauce
  • 10-12 ounces of penne pasta (or mostaccioli)
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1.5-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 16 ounces of cottage cheese

How to make baked ziti

  1. If you purchased uncooked Italian sausage, crumble and brown it. Drain off the fat
  2. Mix the cooked sausage with the spaghetti sauce
  3. Boil water and cook the pasta until it’s al dente (kinda firm but chewable)
  4. Put a thin layer of the meat/sauce mixture along the bottom of a 9×13 pan
  5. Put some of the sauce/meat mix into the pasta and mix (about a ladle’s worth)
  6. Place about half of the cottage cheese over the meat/sauce mix on the bottom of the dish
  7. Pour the pasta over the sauce and cottage cheese
  8. Pour the remaining sauce/meat mix over the pasta
  9. Spread the remaining cottage cheese on the sauce
  10. Sprinkle both kinds of cheese over the sauce and cottage cheese
  11. Bake in the oven (350 degrees) for about 20 minutes

You can mix some cheese in with the pasta (would help it stick better) or add vegetables (we’ll probably add mushrooms and green peppers next time). I would add veggies to the meat and sauce mixture.

4 comments / Add your comment below

    1. It is! What I liked is that with the Italian sausage and seasoning in the sauce, we didn’t have to try and figure out how much seasoning to put in!

  1. Katharine-Yes, exactly! It was similar to lasagna but a lot easier to make and eat. I felt like the flavors were more balanced, too.

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