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Cheesy Baked Ziti

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Author: Stacey Little | Southern Bite


  • 1 (1-pound) box ziti (I used ziti rigati, but you can also use penne)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars marinara
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  
  • In a large stock pot, heat about 2 quarts of water to boiling and stir in about 1 tablespoon of salt.  Add the pasta and stir occasionally.  Cook until just al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or dutch oven.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the sausage and crumble and cook until just browned.  Drain away the excess fat and return the meat and onion mixture to the heat.  Add the marinara sauce and Italian seasoning.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Fold in the pasta being sure to coat it in the sauce.  
  • Add about half of the pasta and sauce mixture to the prepared baking dish.  Stir the ricotta cheese to make it smooth then drop dollops of it evenly onto the pasta. Sprinkle all the parmesan and about half of the mozzarella cheese over it.  
  • Add the remaining pasta mixture in another layer.  Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.  


If you like the cheese to be toasted and browned, simply bake without the aluminum foil cover.