This delicious baked ziti recipe is made with plenty of sauce and cheese. Ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan make this a hearty, satisfying casserole and, if you use a meat-free sauce, it's a vegetarian dish.
Feel free to make a meat sauce to add to the ziti bake, or use a store-bought marinara or traditional spaghetti sauce.
This recipe calls for 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, half for the pasta and half for the melty topping, but you can omit the cheese topping if you'd like.
- Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4). Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.
- Cook the ziti or similar pasta in boiling salted water following the package instructions. Drain well.
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed. Add the egg and blend well.
- Stir in the drained pasta and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Pour the spaghetti sauce over all.
- Bake in the heated oven for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until the mozzarella cheese has melted.
- Serve the ziti casserole with a fresh tossed salad and hot baked or grilled garlic bread.
Note: This is a great picnic or potluck dish. It can be made in advance and freezes well.
Tips and Variations
- With Meat Sauce: In a skillet over medium heat, sauté 1 pound of lean ground beef in a few teaspoons of olive oil until beef is no longer pink. Add the spaghetti sauce to the browned beef and pour over the ziti before baking. If desired, sauté about 1/2 cup of chopped onion with the ground beef.
- With Onion and Peppers: In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté 1 cup of chopped onion and 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper until the onion is translucent and bell pepper is tender. Add the mixture to the ziti with the cheeses.