Cheesy Baked Ziti Recipe (3-cheese)
Our classic baked ziti recipe is a popular family favorite pasta casserole dish. When you’re craving a cheesy baked pasta recipe loaded with ground sausage, tomato sauce and 3 cheese, this is it!
Easy Baked Ziti Recipe with 3-Cheeses
Kids and adults love this easy comfort dish. It’s satisfying and loaded with all the things that kids love to eat. A warm, bubbly dish of this coming out of the oven is pure joy to see and amazing to eat. We’re obsessed with this dish. This classic Italian American dish as described by Wiki “Baked ziti is a popular casserole with ziti pasta and a Neapolitan-style tomato-based sauce characteristic of Italian-American cuisine”.
Video Making Baked Ziti
How to Make Baked Ziti Recipe
Does baked ziti always have sausage in it? Most of the time it does and it adds yummy flavor. But if you’re a vegetarian, you can certainly omit the meat and just add the rest of the ingredients. Now there’s plant based meats too if you want to try. But there than that, there’s so many possible to make this ziti casserole recipe the way that you like. Consider adding some chopped veggies in it for a healthier ziti recipe! All recipe details are in the recipe box below.
What Pasta to Use
Ziti pasta is of course the standard for a baked ziti, but you can easily make it with a large variety of pasta shapes. Shorter, tube shaped pastas like penne or rigatoni are perfect substitutes. Macaroni works great too. But other pasta shapes that also capture the sauce and meat in their shape are also delicious in this recipe. Shapes like rotini, fusilli, gemelli, or orecchiette are types of pastas which will work nicely. There are so many different pasta shapes, just remember to try to use one which the shape of the pasta will help catch some sauce, meat, & cheese.
- 1 lb. (454 g) Ziti pasta , or penne, macaroni or rotini pasta, cooked al dente to package instructions
- 1 Tablespoon (12 ml) olive oil
- 4 cloves (4 cloves) garlic , minced or crushed
- 1 (1 ) onion , diced
- 1 lb. (43.59 g) ground uncooked sausage
- 26 oz. (737 g) pasta/marinara sauce , about 3 cups(or more if you like lots of sauce)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Italian seasonings or dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
- Kosher salt , to taste
- Fresh cracked black pepper , to taste
- 15 oz. (425 g) Ricotta Cheese
- 1/2 lb. (227 g) mozzarella cheese , shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 lb. (113 g) grated parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
- (optional) extra minced parsley for garnish or fresh minced basil
- Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.
- Heat large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add garlic and onions and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sausage and cook for about 5 minutes or until meat is brown and cooked through. Remove from heat and add pasta sauce, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Stir until everything is combined well.
- Add all the pasta into the meat sauce and stir to combine.
- Add half the meat/pasta mixture in the baking dish. Spread evenly into a single layer. Then add half the ricotta cheese on top dotted across. Add half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese mixture in single layer.
- Pour the remaining meat/pasta mixture on top and spread it into an even layer on top of the casserole. Add remaining ricotta cheese, mozzarella and parmesan mixture evenly across.
- Loosely tent the casserole with foil. Don’t let the foil touch the cheese or it will stick to the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Allow casserole to cool about 5 minutes before serving. (optional) Top with minced parsley or minced basil. Enjoy!