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Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

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Meaty, creamy, and cheesy baked ziti is a family favorite!
Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

This Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti casserole gives the impression you’ve been cooking all day when in reality it’s very easy to make. Using Italian sausage as well as ground beef gives the sauce a depth of flavor, and a pinch of cinnamon makes it taste special. Ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese give the perfect balance of savory and creamy!

Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

Ingredients For Cheesy Baked Ziti

  • Ziti pasta
  • Ground beef
  • Bulk Italian sausage
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Egg
  • Fresh parsley

Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

How To Make Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

  1. Cook the ziti pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent them from sticking to each other.
  2. Make the meat sauce: brown the ground beef and Italian sausage in a Dutch oven along with the chopped onion and minced garlic, until no longer pink. Drain the excess fat.
  3. Mix in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, one cup shredded mozzarella cheese, egg, and chopped parsley just until combined.
  5. Stir in the cooked pasta.
  6. Spoon one-third of the meat sauce into a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
  7. Add half of the pasta/cheese mixture on top of the meat sauce.
  8. Sprinkle ½ cup shredded mozzarella over the pasta.
  9. Repeat the process ending with the final ⅓ meat sauce and ½ cup of shredded mozzarella.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Can Baked Ziti Be Frozen?

Although it will not be exactly freshly made, you can assemble it, let it cool down, wrap it in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze it for up to 3 months. Bake it when ready to serve.

Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

Meaty, creamy, and cheesy baked ziti is a family favorite!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10 SERVINGS
Calories: 580kcal
Author: Katherine - Yummfully

Equipment

  • 9x13-inch casserole dish
  • Oven
  • Large pot
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Large Dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 16 oz ziti pasta
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-14.5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Cook the ziti pasta according to package instructions, in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent the pasta from sticking to each other.
  • Make the meat sauce. Brown the ground beef and Italian sausage in a Dutch oven until no longer pink, along with the chopped onion and minced garlic. Drain the excess fat.
  • Mix in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta, Parmesan, one cup of shredded mozzarella, egg, and chopped parsley until combined.
  • Stir in the cooked pasta.
  • Spoon one-third of the meat sauce into a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
  • Add half of the pasta and cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle ½ cup shredded mozzarella over the pasta.
  • Repeat the process ending with the final ⅓ meat sauce and ½ cup of shredded mozzarella.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Nutrition

Calories: 580kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1480mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 17mg

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Different Pasta Shapes?

Any short pasta like penne, rigatoni, or fusilli works for this dish.

What If I Don’t Have Italian Sausage And Ground Beef?

You can use only ground beef, or use any other ground meat like turkey or chicken if you want a lighter version of this dish.

Can I Make This Vegetarian?

Absolutely! Substitute the ground beef and sausage for chopped mushrooms and other veggies like bell peppers and spinach. You can also use a ground beef vegetarian substitute.

Easy Cheesy Baked Ziti

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