Steps to Make It
- Gather the ingredients. The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Lightly butter a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker
- Drizzle the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until the beef is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender. The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker
- Drain off the excess fat. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker
- While the meat is simmering, cook the ziti in the boiling salted water until just al dente. The pasta needs to still have some bite as it will continue cooking in the oven. Set aside. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot with the meat mixture and half of the mozzarella. Stir to combine. The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker
- Top the casserole with the remaining half of the mozzarella cheese. The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker
- Bake the ziti until the cheese melts and begins to bubble and brown, 25 to 30 minutes. The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker
What Goes Into Baked Ziti?
This recipe is a pretty basic version, but everyone who makes baked ziti has their own unique tricks and twists to it. Some vary the cheeses, some the meat, some make meatless versions, and some people leave out the tomato sauce for a truly cheese-tastic casserole.
This version uses bulk Italian sausage, as well as a key fresh herb. In summer, that would be basil. In winter, rosemary. You could also easily use savory, sage, thyme, or parsley.
Tomato Sauce for Baked Ziti
Theres a link to a pasta sauce recipe in the ingredients, but you can also use any jarred sauce—pasta, marinara, even pizza sauce—in this recipe. Just make sure its a sauce you like.
Rating 4.7 (8,773) · 1 hrBaked ziti pasta with ground beef, spaghetti sauce, and three kinds of Italian cheese makes a surprisingly easy, family-pleasing weeknight meal.
Should baked ziti be covered when baking?
How do you make baked ziti not dry?
Does baked ziti contain ricotta cheese?
How long do you heat baked ziti in the oven?