Experience the ultimate comfort food with our Creamy Baked Ziti. This classic Italian-American dish is a hearty blend of al dente ziti pasta, rich marinara sauce, and a luscious, gooey layer of melted mozzarella and creamy ricotta cheese. Baked to perfection, each forkful is a harmonious combination of flavors and textures. Whether served as a cozy family dinner or shared at gatherings, our Creamy Baked Ziti is a crowd-pleaser that brings the warmth of homemade goodness to your table.
1 pound ziti pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground Italian sausage or ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook the ziti pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground Italian sausage or ground beef and cook until browned and cooked through, breaking it apart with a spoon as it cooks.
Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet with the meat and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix until well combined.
Add half of the cooked ziti pasta to the prepared baking dish. Spread half of the meat sauce over the pasta.
Spoon dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture over the meat sauce.
Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella cheese over the ricotta cheese layer.
Repeat the layers with the remaining ziti, meat sauce, ricotta cheese mixture, and shredded mozzarella.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let the Creamy Baked Ziti cool for a few minutes before serving.
Serve this comforting Italian pasta bake with a fresh salad and garlic bread for a delicious and satisfying meal.
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 8 servings