Italian sausage adds a ton of flavor in this recipe but of you can use ground beef (or turkey).
If you swap out the sausage, add extra seasonings or spices (and some chili flakes for heat).
Since this is a baked ziti casserole, I use ziti as the base but any medium pasta will work.
Swap out with penne or rigatoni to make a baked rigatoni pasta .
Cook the pasta it al dente (a little undercooked) as it will continue to cook as it bakes.
Ricotta adds a creamy texture. You can swap it out by blending cottage cheese with an egg until smooth.
Mozzarella is the perfect topper and I always garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese for great flavor.
Italian Seasoning contains all of the spices you’ll need in this recipe.
Add more ‘heat’ by adding a dash of red pepper flakes…just a little spicy. Molto buono Italiano!
How to Make Baked Ziti:
Brown the sausage and onion. Add sauce ingredients and simmer.
In a small bowl, mix ricotta, parsley, mozzarella and parmesan.
Layer sauce, ziti and the ricotta mixture in a casserole dish in order:
A little sauce on the bottom
Half of the cooked ziti
All of the ricotta
Remaining ziti and sauce
Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
How Long to Cook Baked Ziti:
Baked Ziti is basically cooked so the baking is to blend the flavors, heat everything through and of course melt the cheese. Cook it uncovered until the top looks bubbly and browned!
Bake Ziti at:
350°F for 30-35 minutes
375°F for 25-30 minutes
400°F for 20-25 minutes