I’m excited to share my famous EASY Baked Ziti with Ricotta Cheese Recipe! This pasta casserole is incredibly delicious and CHEESY! It’s my signature recipe [if made with my tomato sauce (gravy if you will.)] It’s yummy Italian American comfort food that’s so easy to make and serve. This recipe contains ricotta cheese in addition to mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. It’s a staple at parties of all kinds. Vegetarian
This Baked Ziti recipe variation (I added Italian Sausage) had it’s 15 minutes of fame when I entered it into The San Georgio Pasta Contest hosted by WMMR in Philadelphia on the Barsky Show! It’s my claim to fame!
I was so happy to get the email that I was selected to participate in the contest. The grand prize was dinner for two at a nice Italian restaurant with a limo driver and a LIFETIME supply of pasta!
I had been making this recipe for years and it’s my all-time favorite. But, I’m not the only one that likes it. My friends, co-workers, family and anyone who’s tried it, LOVES IT!
It has incredible flavor but, that’s mostly attributed to the homemade tomato sauce that you can find in my meatballs recipe. I HIGHLY SUGGEST making this recipe with my EASY homemade tomato sauce. It makes a big batch and you can freeze it in smaller containers for later use. You don’t have to make the meatballs to make the sauce either.
I had an unforgettable and great time being on air for two segments of The Barsky Show! Each one of the judges RAVED about the recipe so much the contestant who was scheduled to come in the next day cancelled because they were sure the winner had already been decided. How insecure!
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Easy Recipe for Baked Ziti with Ricotta Cheese
I like making Baked Ziti over lasagna or stuffed shells because you don’t have to layer it or fill the shells. It’s quick, simple and a filling main dish.
Just throw all of the ingredients (cooked ziti) into a bowl, combine, top with sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese slices and bake it for 30-35 minutes!
It’s a recipe I’ve made for many years and it never gets old. My friends have always looked forward to it.
PRO TIP: I purposely under cook the pasta by two minutes when boiling it so it doesn’t get mushy when it’s baked.
Your Baked Ziti Questions Answered:
Can I make Baked Ziti ahead?
Yes! What’s more, you can make this recipe and not bake it. Freeze it and put it in the oven to cook for about an hour covered with foil. It’s a great make ahead casserole for holidays, showers, game day or Sunday dinners. It’s my favorite pasta recipe ever!
Do you have to put egg in Baked Ziti?
In this recipe, yes. However, many baked ziti recipes do not call for eggs but, they many don’t call for ricotta cheese either. Think of the cheeses in this recipe as those you’d find in lasagna and egg holds it together.
Should I cover baked ziti in the oven?
Yes. Cover it with aluminum foil. It’ll help it get hot in the middle and it won’t dry out the pasta on top and make it crunchy.
What pasta is most like ziti?
You can substitute penne, penne rigate, and mostaccioli pasta for ziti. They are similar in size and shape and have very similar cooking times.
Can u freeze baked ziti?
Yes! Cover Ziti casserole raw (with pasta cooked) or baked but, cooled tightly and it can be frozen for months. When reheating straight from the freezer, allow an hour to bake at 350F.
How to make Italian baked ziti with ricotta cheese
This is a summary of how to make this recipe. The details are in the printable recipe card below along with the video.
- Cook ziti for 8 minutes and drain.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Meanwhile, In a very large mixing bowl (large enough to hold pasta too) add: ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, seasonings, and egg.
- Next, add cooked and drained ziti pasta and tomato sauce and stir until combined.
- In a 13″x 9″x 3″ baking dish, add some sauce on the bottom followed by the pasta mixture.
- Top with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese slices and sauce.
- Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, uncovered.
What goes well with Baked Ziti?
- Italian sausage
- Homemade Italian meatballs and I use the tomato sauce from that recipe for this Baked Ziti recipe.
- Caesar Salad or any green salad
- Garlic bread
- chicken cutlets (of course)
Make this flavorful Baked Ziti with Ricotta Cheese for your next party or Sunday dinner and everyone will love it! Leftovers are just as yummy. It’s a tried and true recipe.
Baked Ziti with Ricotta Cheese is great for:
- baby or wedding showers
- game day
- Sunday dinner
- Communion, Confirmation and christening parties
- Christmas parties
Basically, anytime there are large gatherings of people to feed. But, you can make this on the weekend, or even a weeknight if you have time, and eat it until it’s gone. It tastes great the next day too!
Get what you need to make this delicious recipe and I promise you it’ll be the best Baked Ziti with Ricotta Cheese you’ve ever had if you use my tomato sauce recipe with it. But, if you don’t have the time, use your favorite jarred sauce but, don’t tell me. LOL!
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I took this to Weekend Potluck.
Easy Recipe for Baked Ziti with Ricotta Cheese
- 1 lb ziti pasta
- 32 oz tomato sauce, divided
- 1 egg
- 15 oz ricotta cheese I use Galbani brand
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese slices 8 thick slices
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley or 1 tbsp dried
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, cook pasta in boiling, salted water (2 tbsp of salt) for 1 gallon of water for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F.
- Then, In a bowl large enough to hold pasta plus cheeses and sauce, add ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, 2 cups of warm tomato sauce, egg, and seasonings.
- Next, add drained ziti to cheese mixture and stir until well combined. It will look orange.
- Then, in a 13 x 9 x 3"baking dish, spoon 1/4 cup of sauce on the bottom.
- Next, add the ziti mixture and spread it out.
- Then, place fresh mozzarella cheese slices on top and remaining sauce in between cheese slices.
- Last, bake on 375F uncovered for 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley or dried.