- 1 pound of ziti or penne pasta
- Kosher salt
- One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound of bulk Italian sausage, ground beef, or ground pork
- One large onion, chopped
- 3–4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- One tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary or basil
- One tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 4 cups of jarred marinara or pasta sauce, or homemade tomato sauce
- Black pepper
- 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
- One heaping cup of ricotta cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bring a big saucepan of salted water to a rolling boil (one tablespoon of salt per 2 quarts of water). Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, at a rolling boil until the pasta is al dente—edible but still firm to the bite.
- Using a colander, drain the pasta to keep the pasta from sticking together while creating the sauce, toss with a little olive oil.
- Begin making the sauce while the water is heating in the previous step. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bulk sausage or ground meat after the oil is shimmering hot. As the sausage cooks, break up any large chunks. Brown properly.
- If you stir too frequently, the meat will take longer to brown. However, if you’re not using sausage, add a pinch of salt to the ground beef or pork.
- Add the onions and stir well to incorporate once the meat is mostly browned. Sauté everything for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown.
- Stir in the garlic, rosemary or basil, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes—Cook for 1 minute before adding the tomato sauce and stirring thoroughly. After heating to a low boil, reduce to low heat. If required, season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- In the bottom of a 9×13-inch casserole pan, spread a thin layer of sauce, then dot the surface with half of the ricotta cheese. Then, spoon a dollop of sauce into the pasta, toss well, and then add the pasta to the casserole.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta, then top with the remaining ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Chill, cover, and refrigerate or refrigerate or freeze to prepare ahead of time.
- Bake uncovered at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is gently browned and the cheese has melted. Allow for a 10-minute rest period before serving.
- This baked ziti recipe promises a satisfying experience, and the entire cooking duration lasts for 75 minutes. For more ideas on baking Ziti properly, watch this video recipe.