Classic Baked Ziti Recipe

This recipe creates a comforting and cheesy baked ziti dish, perfect for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried ziti pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground sausage (sweet or hot Italian, your preference)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  2. Cook the ziti according to package directions in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain and set aside.
  3. While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Drain any excess grease.
  4. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet with the sausage and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese.
  7. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked ziti, sausage sauce mixture, and ricotta cheese mixture.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  10. Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve hot.

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