A saucy, cheesy Baked Ziti Recipe! With a robustly flavored homemade tomato sauce (made with Italian sausage), ricotta, and melty, bubbly mozzarella cheese, this is comfort food at its finest. Be sure to check out the how-to VIDEO at the bottom of the recipe!
2Tablespoons+ 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oildivided
5clovesminced garlic1 heaping Tablespoon
1onionfinely chopped (about 1 cup)
1lbItalian sausageI’ve used Sweet Italian and Mild (455g)
¼teaspoonred pepper flakesoptional
14ozcan fire roasted diced tomatoesundrained (400)
¼cupthinly sliced fresh basilloosely packed
1heaping cup ricotta cheese(280g)
1 ½cupsshredded Mozzarella cheese(170g)
⅓cupgrated parmesan cheese(60g)
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Set aside.
Prepare pasta according to package instructions, cook al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, and mix with two teaspoons of olive oil.
Meanwhile, prepare your sauce. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion and cook until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds).
Add italian sausage and cook, crumbling, until mostly browned. Once sausage is mostly browned, add Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, stirring and cooking until sausage is entirely browned.
Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in basil.
Spread a small amount of pasta sauce (several spoonfuls, see image in the post or video for visual) on the bottom of prepared casserole dish.
Layer the sauce with half of the noodles (if some have stuck together while sitting, they should be easy to break apart with your hands). Top with half of the remaining sauce and use a spoon to spread evenly over noodles.
Dollop ricotta evenly over sauce. Top evenly with remaining noodles and then remaining sauce.
Top with mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan. Spray a piece of foil lightly with cooking spray, cover ziti and bake for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook another 5-10 minutes or until bubbly.