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Baked Ziti Pasta

Updated on September 12, 2019
Kresa Villesca Castillo profile image

Kresa is a wife and mother to two beautiful children. She enjoys cooking for her family and creating new recipes for them to try.

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Baked Ziti

Ingredients (ziti & sauce):

  • 3 1/2 cups ziti pasta
  • 1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups mozzarella

Ingredients (meatballs):

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking meatballs


For the meatballs

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
  2. Roll the meat into balls about the size of walnuts.
  3. In a pan, heat a few tablespoons of the olive oil.
  4. Place a few of the meatballs in the pan and cook until browned on all sides; do the same with the rest of the meatballs and set on paper towels to drain. Set the meatballs aside until you are ready to assemble the pasta.

For the sauce

  1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour in the tomato puree and the basil; lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir. Let simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the ricotta cheese and let the sauce simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from heat.

Cooking the Pasta:

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot.
  2. Add a bit of salt, then add the 3 1/2 cups of pasta; boil until al' dente, about 7 minutes. Reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water then drain the pasta. You are now ready to assemble the ziti.

Assembling the ziti:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Pour the ziti pasta and the reserved pasta water into the sauce and toss until the ziti is well coated.
  3. Pour half of the ziti & sauce into a large, greased casserole dish.
  4. Top with half of the meatballs, then top with half of the mozzarella.
  5. Pour the remaining pasta mixture into the casserole dish and layer with the remaining meatballs and cheese.
  6. Place the casserole dish into 400 degree oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve.


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