Baked Ziti with Sausage

Baked Ziti with Sausage


Prep Time: 30 min 

Cook Time: 1 hr 5 min 

Serves: 8 servings


4 quarts water

1 tablespoon kosher salt (for seasoning pasta water)

1 pound ziti pasta

1 pound Italian sausage (removed from casing, mild or spicy)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup yellow onion (finely chopped)1

tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (divided)

¼ cup tomato paste

28 ounces crushed tomatoes (Cento Brand or San Marzano tomatoes)

14.5 ounces diced tomatoes (do not drain)2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)

½ teaspoon black pepper (divided)

2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese (freshly shredded)

½ cup grated parmesan cheese (divided, plus more for garnish)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley (plus more for garnish)

Preparation Steps

1. Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375°F (190ºC).

2. In a large dutch oven or pot bring water and salt to a boil. Add in the ziti, cook according to package directions until al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander, and rinse with cool water for about 30 seconds to stop the cooking. Separate the noodles with a spoon so they do not stick together, leaving some excess water on the surface and set aside.]

3. Heat olive oil in the dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces, about 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion, garlic, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings, sauté until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

6. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes. Season tomato sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. Reserve 2 cups of meat sauce.

7. Add the ziti pasta to the meat sauce in the dutch oven or pot, stir to combine.

8. In a medium-sized bowl stir together ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, parsley, and egg.

9. In a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish add half of the pasta. Evenly dollop half of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Spread half of the reserved meat sauce on top.

10. Spread the remaining pasta on top, followed by the ricotta cheese mixture, and the remaining meat sauce.

11. Evenly sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese on top of the ziti casserole.

12. Loosely cover the baking dish with foil so that it does not touch the pasta.

13. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese is melted and lightly golden brown, 15 minutes.

14. Garnish with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.


Need a dinner to feed the whole family, plus have plenty of leftovers? This easy baked ziti recipe is a classic Italian casserole dish to feed a crowd.