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Anyone have yummy Baked Ziti recipes?

lucienne78 Oct 24, 2006 08:36 PM

I'm trying to find a really good Baked Ziti recipe, but for some reason I'm having no luck. Anyone have any great baked ziti recipes?

  1. letsindulge Mar 21, 2014 05:23 PM

    Have not made recently but I recall this recipe having a unique savory-ness from the cinammon, and the great texture from the almonds, and bread crumbs.


    1. iL Divo Feb 24, 2014 08:04 PM

      I can't really add anything new.
      I like baked ziti.
      it's easy, sorta a no brainer of an entree to me anyway.
      simple delicious heartwarming and fulfilling.
      great sauce
      Italian spices
      pharm cheese
      mozzo cheese
      Romano cheese

      I prefer no meat also no added vegs to this dish.
      just a personal choice.

      1. jennaroo Feb 23, 2014 02:29 PM

        Hi, we have made this many times and it is declared to be the best ever, even by a meat loving friend. He was just fine with this being meat free. It is a cooks illustrated recipe, but since that is a paid website, you need to find a blogger who has made the recipe and posted it. Please try it, you will not be disappointed!

        1 Reply
        1. re: jennaroo
          Skamper Feb 23, 2014 05:10 PM

          I've made this, too, and it is delish. Reminded me of Mom's!

        2. o
          OhioHound Nov 1, 2013 05:44 AM

          I made two baked Ziti dishes for a half vege/half meat crowd. Both were enjoyed by all!

          I used this recipe with Italian pork sausage instead: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/pasta-rustica-with-chicken-sausage-and-three-cheeses.html

          And this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

          1 Reply
          1. re: OhioHound
            masha Nov 1, 2013 07:55 AM

            The Williams & Sonoma "pasta rustica" is my go-to baked ziti recipe also. typically make it with turkey sausage (sometimes adding some ground beef too, if I have any left over red sauce in the fridge).

          2. m
            mazwe Oct 31, 2013 07:40 PM

            I highly recommend the Cook's Illustrated recipe. I have been using it for years and it's a great crowd pleasure and just perfect. They use cottage cheese instead of ricotta. And it works wonderfully.

            If you don't have a subscription, someone reproduced it here:


            2 Replies
            1. re: mazwe
              shaebones Oct 31, 2013 11:48 PM

              +++++1 on the CI recipe. A real crowd pleaser

              1. re: mazwe
                JeannieB50 Nov 2, 2013 07:20 AM

                Thank you! I appreciate the link.

              2. Thanks4Food Jul 24, 2013 09:46 AM

                Here are a whole bunch from Ragu: http://www.yummly.com/recipes/ragu-ba.... We've been making the 3-cheese baked ziti for years. Never use Ragu and we often add a layer of meat like meatballs or sausage--and sometimes I add a layer of pepperoni on top to crisp up. (The pepperoni isn't nearly as good on the inside.)

                1. a
                  Angarmanino Apr 15, 2012 10:14 AM

                  My favorite is on Epicurious.com under Baked ziti with pork ragu and spicy sausage. The ragu stands alone, but the recipe is a win real winner as is!
                  Buon apetito!

                  1. pdxgastro Oct 30, 2009 10:32 AM

                    I want everyone to know that using Ricotta in Baked Ziti is very 1970s. In Italy they stopped using ricotta and now use Bechamel (aka white sauce). It makes the baked ziti lighter and creamier. America is *so* behind the times.

                    Try it!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: pdxgastro
                      koodie Apr 27, 2013 08:29 AM

                      In 2013 we use both ricotta & bechamel....in my opinion much more delicious!!

                      1. re: koodie
                        JeannieB50 Oct 31, 2013 03:30 PM

                        I like the idea of using the two- ricotta and bechamel. But I don't use Ricotta often- what kind ( not brand) do you think works best?

                    2. s
                      small h Oct 29, 2009 07:37 PM

                      A (somewhat dumbass) question for all you experienced baked ziti makers:

                      I tried my hand at this dish for the first time last night, using this recipe (minus the sausage):

                      When I stirred the grated mozzarella into the pasta, it staunchly refused to incorporate. Rather, the cheese transformed into an alien life form - possibly sentient! - and actually reconstituted itself into a single blob-like mass, before my very eyes. Which is not to say the finished product wasn't good, because it was. But is there a way to encourage the cheese to distribute more evenly?

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: small h
                        jfood Oct 30, 2009 03:47 AM

                        was it whole or part skim mozzy?

                        1. re: jfood
                          small h Oct 30, 2009 04:40 AM

                          Whole. From Alleva, if that makes a difference.

                          1. re: small h
                            jfood Oct 30, 2009 05:46 AM

                            thought it may have been part skim which tends to seize after melting.

                          2. re: jfood
                            SheriInStLouis Mar 18, 2014 09:53 PM

                            I combine the wet ingredients -- finely grated mozz, parm, ricotta, an egg. Then, when I stir in the warm pasta, it doesn't all clump together. Don't wait too long to add the pasta, or it will start to stick together and become difficult to work with.

                          3. re: small h
                            carbonaraboy Oct 30, 2009 07:18 AM

                            I've had better luck with cutting the mozzarella into small cubes, rather than grated. This also works for quattro formaggi, as long as the pasta and the bowl are very hot.


                            1. re: carbonaraboy
                              small h Oct 30, 2009 07:51 AM

                              Thanks, I figured next time I'd slice & layer, rather than shred & stir. I thought there might be some sort of magic bullet, though. Alas.

                              1. re: carbonaraboy
                                NonnieMuss Nov 1, 2013 05:25 AM

                                +1 - I'm a huge fan of the cubed cheese - that way every bite is goopy and cheesy.

                              2. re: small h
                                Brooklynboybagels Jul 24, 2013 07:38 AM

                                Try grating the mozzarella yourself from a whole ball. The pre-shredded stuff you buy at the supermarket has starch on it that prevents the shreds from sticking to each other in the package, but which results in a nasty blog when you bake it.

                                1. re: Brooklynboybagels
                                  small h Jul 24, 2013 08:05 AM

                                  It was not pre-shredded. It was from Alleva Dairy, an Italian specialty store that makes its own mozzarella (see my post of 10/30/09, 12:40am).

                                  I've had decent results with tearing, rather than grating, the cheese, and belated thanks to carbonaraboy for that suggestion.

                              3. Calipoutine Oct 18, 2009 04:43 PM

                                I'm a HUGe baked ziti fan, everytime we go to S. Fla, I order it. I finally found a great recipe, Its from Cook's Ilustrated( May/June 2009?). The recipe uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta( I know, I know, I thought that was weird too, but its amazing) and some heavy cream. Get your hands on it now, its amazing!!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Calipoutine
                                  bear Oct 19, 2009 03:28 AM

                                  That CI recipe is very tasty.

                                  1. re: Calipoutine
                                    GretchenS Oct 19, 2009 09:11 AM

                                    Here's a link to the CI recipe. http://www.recipezaar.com/Baked-Ziti-...

                                  2. MrsCheese Oct 18, 2009 04:23 PM

                                    Everyone seems to like the one I make, but there's certainly nothing fancy about it. I do use my own homemade marinara that I keep in the freezer, but you could use 2 jars of spaghetti sauce.

                                    Boil 1# ziti.
                                    Brown I# ground beef with 1 chopped onion and some red pepper flakes (if desired). Sometimes I add mushrooms too. Once cooked, Add marinara sauce (about 2 jars worth) and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid tilted.
                                    Layer in a 9x13: 1/2 of ziti, 2 c. shredded mozzarella, 1/2 of sauce mixture, and then dot with about a cup of sour cream (sounds weird I know). Then layer the rest: rest of ziti, 2 c. mozz, rest of sauce mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake at 350 for 40 min or so.

                                    Freezes well- and great to take to someone in need in a disposable pan (just had a baby, etc.)

                                    1. mcel215 Oct 18, 2009 06:19 AM

                                      About 45 years ago, baked ziti was served as a "lazy" lasagna during the week. So my recipe is basically lasagna, but using ziti instead.

                                      I always have freezer spaghetti sauce in quart size containers in my freezer. If you do not and want out of making your own, a good jarred sauce would be fine for this dish, the sauce is not the "star". If you are using jarred, you may need two jars.

                                      Here is how I have made my baked ziti for a very long time. If I want to add meat, I squash down a few meatballs and a couple of sausages that have been cooked in the sauce. If not, it's fine without it.

                                      On hand you will need, 1 box of cooked ziti, drained and toss with a mere tablespoon of olivie oil, left to cool.
                                      1 large container of ricotta cheese, mixed with 2 large eggs and a little salt and pepper.
                                      1 ball of mozzarella cheese, sliced thin.
                                      1 cup parmagiano reggiano, grated.
                                      1 quart of spaghetti sauce

                                      Preheat oven to 350F.

                                      Your line a pyrex dish with a couple of ladles full of sauce, and spread out with the bottom of the ladle. The entire bottom doesn't have to be covered with sauce.
                                      Next layer, add 1/3 box cooked ziti, spread out a little.
                                      Add 1/2 of ricotta mixture, spread a little, but again don't worry about it too much.
                                      Add a layer of mozzarella, not too close together, about 1/2 of the slices
                                      Add a few ladles full of sauce. This layer needs to be covered with sauce.
                                      Sprinkle half the grated cheese.
                                      If you are adding the meatball/sausage, then layer it here.
                                      Then add the remaining ziti, a little sauce and parm cheese.

                                      Cover with alminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Take foil off and bake another
                                      15 minutes.

                                      Take out of oven, let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mcel215
                                        Fleur Oct 18, 2009 05:01 PM

                                        Are you sure the proportions are correct? Two pounds Ricotta? ( large container is 32 oz) . One pound Mozzarella, one cup Parmigino Reggiano for only one pound of dry Pasta?

                                        1. re: Fleur
                                          mcel215 Oct 19, 2009 03:11 PM

                                          Yes, I am sure. The large container of ricotta cheese. My mozzarella ball is from Costco, and I don't always use the entire amount. And I sprinkle without measuring all over the three layers with good parmigiano cheese. One box of barilla (I have been using Meza Rigatoni lately.

                                          It weighs a lot, and it is very cheese-y. We love good cheese and good pasta dishes.

                                      2. c
                                        carbonaraboy Oct 18, 2009 04:54 AM

                                        Take any of the classic southern Italian recipes calling for (among other things) tomato sauce and ricotta, and replace the ricotta with 1/3-1/2 the amount with goat cheese.


                                        1. f
                                          Fleur Oct 17, 2009 08:46 PM

                                          Always looking for great Baked Ziti.

                                          I have been making this one lately: Everyone loves it. The recipe can be made in any quantity. I recently made it for a Church Supper quadrupling the recipe.

                                          NOTE: The Part Skim Milk Ricotta is much closer to the Ricotta in Italy

                                          Chop and saute one medium Onion, two cloves garlic ,Red Pepper flakes to taste in EVOO

                                          (optional )One pound Italian Sausage, skinned and chopped up, browned.

                                          Cook one box de Cecco Penne Rigate al dente in boiling salted water, drain it, pour into large pot.


                                          one 15 oz jar good Marinara Sauce ( I use Fairway's brand) with the sauteed onions, garlic, and red pepper added. Sausage optional

                                          One 15 oz tub of Polly-O Part Skim Ricotta

                                          Large handful (or more )of grated Mixed Italian Cheese

                                          Grease large baking dish with EVOO or spray with PAM

                                          Ladle in Mixture. Top with more grated cheese

                                          Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

                                          1. everydayfoodie Dec 30, 2007 11:17 AM

                                            I've been making this Extra-Crusty Baked Rigatoni with Beef Ragù from William Sonoma for several years now and it's always a hit (and would easily take ziti instead of rigatoni as the pasta):


                                            The recipe isn't overly complex but the combination of mozzarella and asiago (my choice for this recipe instead of Parmesan) is great. The cream makes the sauce decadent and the parsley adds a high of freshness to an otherwise heavy meal. I also substitute the more traditional combination of 1/3 ground beef, 1/3 ground pork, and 1/3 ground veal in place of the straight ground beef suggested in the recipe. You could also add some Italian sausage into the mix as is used int he Mark Bittman recipe and I bet the outcome would be great.

                                            This recipe freezes well. I make a full recipe and freeze half to have to feed my family of 3 on a night when I'm not in the mood to cook but don't want take-out or to go out.


                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: everydayfoodie
                                              Indy 67 Nov 1, 2013 05:23 AM

                                              I don't have high hopes for this request since the post I'm responding to is six years old and the recipe is older still. However...

                                              The link that everydayfoodie supplied no longer works. It takes me to the most recent -- Thanksgiving-themed -- Williams Sonoma catalog. Even doing a search doesn't work; the only recipe for baked rigatoni is a sausage and olive recipe. Does anyone have the original recipe he/she could share?

                                              Thanks in advance.

                                              1. re: Indy 67
                                                charmedgirl Nov 1, 2013 06:14 AM

                                                Think this might be it?


                                                1. re: Indy 67
                                                  gmm Nov 1, 2013 06:18 AM

                                                  I just did a Google search for "Extra Crusty Baked Rigatoni with Beef Ragu from Williams Sonoma" and it came right up:

                                                  1. re: gmm
                                                    Indy 67 Nov 1, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                    Thanks charmedgirl and gmm.

                                              2. t
                                                tinarina Dec 30, 2007 06:49 AM

                                                I've made this many times, from Epicurious--Baked Ziti with spinach and tomatoes. I've never bothered with the pesto, but I have put a bunch of fresh basil in with the tomatoes. It's very easy and good:


                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: tinarina
                                                  gastronomy Dec 30, 2007 08:48 AM

                                                  My favorite is meatless but always a huge crowd pleaser- I make a really great red sauce (I love onions, garlic and salt sizzle in Extra Virgin for a while before adding San Mazzanos whole tomatoes that I crush into the pot and simmering seasoning S&P to taste at the very end) If summer I will tear in some fresh basil right before assembling- makes for pretty color throughout and very fresh tasting. I also make a béchamel with flour, butter, milk salt, pepper and a little fresh grated nutmeg.
                                                  I mix the ziti rigate (which I boil first for about 6min) with the tomato sauce inside the casserole dish- then add some grated mozz and then pour the béchamel sauce- I top with either more grated mozz or if I have (makes even better) fresh whole milk mozz sliced, grated parm and assiago (or either one)- If you are assembling and eating right away just pop in the broiler until everything is bubbling and there are some really crispy pieces sticking out! :) If not let cool and bake in 375 for about 20min. covered with foil and then broil for a few min. for the crispy effect! YUMMMM!! Let me know if you need more exact measurments/amounts!

                                                2. d
                                                  drgreg Dec 29, 2007 12:45 PM

                                                  My favorite is this one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/r...

                                                  Being an Emeril recipe you can cut down on the oil and salt, and I've made it with TVP instead of meat for a vegetarian friend.

                                                  1. n
                                                    nursedr Dec 29, 2007 12:02 PM

                                                    Baked Ziti
                                                    1or 2 lbs of ziti
                                                    20 meatballs
                                                    1- 15 oz of ricotta ccheese
                                                    1/2 cup of romanoe cheese
                                                    2 eggs
                                                    1/4 cup of milk
                                                    tomato sauce

                                                    Cook ziti until just tender & drain

                                                    beat 2 eggs into the ricotta cheese & alternating the milk & romano cheese into the ricotta cheese. Mix & let stand for 10 minutes.

                                                    Crush the meatballs (use a potatoe masher to do this)

                                                    Cover your baking pan with tomato sauce, then add ziti. Next cover the ziti with tomato sauce. Then next cover with the crushed meatballs. and then add the ricotta mix over the crushed meatballs.Then cover the ricotta mix with tomato sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

                                                    1. onefineleo Oct 29, 2006 08:30 PM

                                                      I love this recipe from epicurious for baked ziti with spicy pork ragu. It get gobbled up by my family everytime. It is on the spicy side, but truly takes this dish to new heights.



                                                      1. d
                                                        drobbia Oct 29, 2006 08:30 PM

                                                        I agree that baked ziti is made with ziti, everything else is fine just not baked ziti - never heard of ricotta in classic baked ziti, if you do use ricotta try a good pinch of nutmeg in it, stirred well -and for goodness sake use whole milk mozzarela and ricotta -this dish is not for someone trying to lose weight--one more pointer, make it the day before you want to eat it - store covered in foil in the fridge, heat it up for 40 mins.at low heat -- betcha youll love it!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: drobbia
                                                          classylady Oct 18, 2009 05:29 AM

                                                          I decided to make ziti last night even with my prepared chicken and Greek potatoes in the fridge. I felt like having something instant hot with this unusual weather. I just kept adding different ingredients to it parsley, Italian spice, minced garlic along with the egg, parmesean cheese, salt and pepper. Topped with sauce and mozzeralla.It was great along with a good salad.

                                                        2. l
                                                          lucienne78 Oct 29, 2006 08:29 PM

                                                          Hi prunefeet - it's funny that you say that. I'm the complete opposite - it's not baked ziti to me if it doesn't have ricotta. I need ricotta in my baked ziti. It makes it nice and creamy.

                                                          1. prunefeet Oct 29, 2006 08:12 PM

                                                            Funny, I always thought of baked ziti as just ziti, sauce and moz on top. Have never been served baked ziti with ricotta let alone any of the other additions...not that they don't sound good, but to me, it's just 3 ingredients or it's not baked ziti. I like the crispy pieces that stick up and get browned in the oven...YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

                                                            1. l
                                                              LizATL Oct 27, 2006 12:25 AM

                                                              We like this one. I actually have saved the magazine for 11 years just for this (although I suppose I could copy it over!).


                                                              It calls for penne, but you could certainly use ziti. It is one of those recipes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The kalamatas are the secret, I think. Also, instead of havarti, I have substituted smoked gouda to delicious ends.

                                                              1. l
                                                                lucienne78 Oct 26, 2006 09:56 PM

                                                                One of my relatives has the Sopranos cookbook. I'll be there this weekend, so I'll make sure to make a copy of the Baked Ziti recipe.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: lucienne78
                                                                  fara Oct 26, 2006 10:19 PM

                                                                  also recommended: the lemon chicken recipe (just cook the chicken longer than called for)

                                                                  1. re: fara
                                                                    zigzag Oct 26, 2006 10:57 PM

                                                                    I got curious about the Lemon Chicken and found the recipe


                                                                    1. re: fara
                                                                      jfood Oct 29, 2006 11:00 PM

                                                                      best lemon chicken recipe is Rao's. Can get it on line and it is simple simple simple. and lick ur fingers good.

                                                                  2. k
                                                                    Kagey Oct 26, 2006 08:44 AM

                                                                    This is going to sound really daft, but the best recipe I've seen--that is, the closest to my own homemade--is Carmella's recipe from the Sopranos' Family Cookbook. Seriously.

                                                                    The secret to good baked ziti is the sauce.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Kagey
                                                                      iL Divo Feb 24, 2014 07:52 PM

                                                                      this shows the recipe for:
                                                                      the baked ziti
                                                                      the Sunday gravy
                                                                      the meatballs too
                                                                      it's the whole baked ziti recipe via the link


                                                                    2. jenniebnyc Oct 26, 2006 01:15 AM

                                                                      You can do a baked ziti with ham, peas and a bechamel sauce. I always serve with homemade red sauce on the side.

                                                                      1. UnConundrum Oct 26, 2006 12:32 AM

                                                                        I like to add some fried eggplant, cut into strips. We used to call that Ziti Sicillian

                                                                        1. n
                                                                          niki rothman Oct 25, 2006 11:21 PM

                                                                          Mine is easy and meatless but classic: make a quick marinara by processing TJ's canned plum tomatoes (32 oz.), fry 1 minced onion and 4 large minced cloves garlic in evoo, add tomatoes, big pinch red pep flakes, 1/2 tsp sugar & salt, simmer 20 min.
                                                                          Cook ziti very al dente, mix with whole milk mozzarela, whole milk ricotta and sauce. Top with fresh ground parm and bake at 350 until all the mozz. is melted.

                                                                          1. e
                                                                            ESNY Oct 24, 2006 09:02 PM

                                                                            To second what HillJ said, go easy on the ricotta. Also, add cubed mozzarella to the pasta and mix. Then top with additional mozzarella and parm. cheese and bake till bubbling on top.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ESNY
                                                                              bobbyperu Oct 25, 2006 10:53 PM

                                                                              That's a good recipe above - as an alternative, use meatballs cut in half instead of the Italian sausage.

                                                                              1. re: bobbyperu
                                                                                lovessushi Oct 18, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                                                Ooh I love the idea of meatballs in baked ziti! Don't know why I never thought of that...

                                                                            2. j
                                                                              Jeda Oct 24, 2006 08:59 PM

                                                                              This is a hearty winter baked ziti... from Mark Bittman's Mimialist column a few years ago... A crowd pleaser, not too fancy, but solid and satisfying and fairly easy.

                                                                              Time: about an hour

                                                                              Salt and pepper
                                                                              1 pound Italian sausage, preferably bulk or ground meat of
                                                                              any type, or a combination
                                                                              1 large onion, diced
                                                                              1 tablespoon minced garlic
                                                                              1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
                                                                              1 pound ziti or other large cut pasta
                                                                              1 pound mozzarella, grated or chopped
                                                                              Olive oil or butter as needed
                                                                              1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

                                                                              1. Bring large pot of water to boil; salt it. Heat oven to 400

                                                                              2. Distribute meat in large skillet over medium high heat
                                                                              and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 5
                                                                              minutes. Stir, cook another 2 minutes undisturbed, then add
                                                                              the onion and garlic, if using. Lower heat to medium and
                                                                              continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables
                                                                              are soft; add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer while
                                                                              cooking pasta, stirring and seasoning with salt and pepper
                                                                              to taste; do not let sauce become too thick.

                                                                              3. Cook pasta until just tender; it should still be too
                                                                              hard to eat. Drain it (do not shake the colander; allow
                                                                              some water to cling to the noodles) and toss it with the
                                                                              sauce and half the mozzarella. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking
                                                                              dish and spoon mixture into it. Top with remaining
                                                                              mozzarella and the Parmesan if using. Bake until top is
                                                                              browned and cheese bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.

                                                                              Yield: 6 servings.

                                                                              1. h
                                                                                HillJ Oct 24, 2006 08:47 PM

                                                                                If you go lighter on the ricotta cheese, grilled zucchini tossed into the casserole dish will stand up to the other strong flavors and adds a nice crunch.

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