Baked Ziti

Looking for a delicious and hearty pasta meal to share with your family or community this summer? This baked ziti recipe is a perfect choice! This classic Italian-American dish combines pasta, cheese, and a rich tomato sauce to create a comforting and satisfying meal that everyone will love.

Cooking Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Large saute pan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • 9 x 13-inch baking dish
  • Measuring spoons and cups


  • 1 lb ziti noodles
  • 1½ lbs ground spicy or sweet Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup grated pecorino Romano (or Parmigiano Reggiano) cheese
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 8 oz whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. 
  2. Spray nonstick cooking spray or spread butter to a 9 x 13- inch baking dish. Set aside. 
  3. Chop basil and garlic. Set aside. 
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the 1 lb of ziti noodles and cook according to the package directions. (It will continue to cook in the oven so you want to undercook it just a bit.) Drain and return the pasta back to the pot. Set aside.
  5. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook, breaking apart with a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes. 
  6. Drain the grease from the sausage and transfer to a plate.
  7. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic to the sauté pan and cook for about 1 minute. Then, add the 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1½ teaspoons sugar and ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes and lightly simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  8. Add in the 1 cup cream, ⅓ cup of the pecorino Romano, cooked sausage, and ⅓ cup basil to the pan; stir until evenly combined. 
  9. Carefully pour the contents of the sauté pan into the large pot with the pasta and gently stir to combine. 
  10. Spoon the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top with shredded mozzarella (1 cup).
  11. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the cheese has melted and slightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle more basil on top and serve.