Baked Ziti Pasta Recipe


  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 lb ground beef, turkey, or Italian sausage (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking


  1. Preheat your oven to 350ยฐF (175ยฐC).
  2. Cook the ziti pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. If using ground meat, add it to the skillet along with the chopped onion and cook until the meat is browned and the onion is softened. If not using meat, simply cook the onion until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
  4. Stir the marinara sauce into the skillet with the cooked meat (or onion and garlic mixture if not using meat). Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese), egg, half of the shredded mozzarella cheese, half of the grated Parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh basil or parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a 9×13-inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom to prevent the pasta from sticking. Add half of the cooked ziti pasta to the dish and spread it out evenly. Dollop half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the pasta, then pour half of the remaining sauce over the top.
  7. Add the remaining ziti pasta to the dish, followed by the remaining ricotta cheese mixture, and finish with the remaining sauce.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the ziti.
  9. Bake the ziti in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If desired, you can broil the dish for an additional 2-3 minutes to create a golden-brown crust on top.
  10. Remove the baked ziti from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional chopped fresh basil or parsley, if desired.

Enjoy your delicious baked ziti pasta with a side salad or crusty bread for a comforting, satisfying meal.