Easy Baked Ziti with Ricotta
Easy Baked Ziti with Ricotta is easy to make, ready is under an hour and classic Italian American comfort food! Made using tender ziti pasta, your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce, a creamy layer of ricotta cheese and a generous sprinkling of mozzarella, this easy baked ziti recipe is everyone's favorite dinner!
- 16 ounces ziti pasta
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 26 ounces spaghetti sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray. Start with the ziti pasta. Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta until it’s almost al dente. Drain the pasta 1-2 minutes before the recommended time is done and set aside.
While your pasta is cooking, brown your ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain the fat and set the meat aside.
Using the same skillet, melt butter and add chopped onion. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute before stirring in spaghetti sauce, onion powder, salt and Italian seasoning. Reduce heat and let simmer.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, sugar and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese. Add a pinch of salt too.
Add the ground beef and ziti noodles into the spaghetti sauce and stir well to combine. Pour half of the ziti / sauce mixture into the prepared pan and then drop spoonfuls of ricotta cheese on top. Gently spread the ricotta over the pasta to create an even layer. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese on top before adding the remaining pasta and spreading even. Add the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to the top of the baked ziti casserole. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Adding a bit of sugar to your ricotta mixture sweetens it up a bit. It plays perfectly against the robust flavors of this baked ziti casserole.
- No one likes shredding cheese by hand. Feel free to grab a brick of mozzarella cheese and slice by hand instead of shredding.
- Add a bit of crushed red pepper flakes to your sauce to add a bit of a spicy kick.
- This recipe balances the perfect amount of sauce to pasta ratio. However, if you like a super saucy Italian casserole, feel free to add more sauce than the recommended amount suggested.
- Grab a spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage for extra flavor.