Mom used to make this pasta al forno on special days, like on holidays and a lot of Sundays. It was a big treat for us. It is a lot of work because of all the ingredients that you have to layer on the pasta but it's well worth it. You can choose whatever you like in the ziti, but we love it just like this. It's filling and it's good.


Recipe Summary

1 hr 25 mins
10 mins
1 hr 55 mins
20 mins
1 9x13-inch baking dish


Original recipe yields 14 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ziti and Filling:


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion; saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in tomato puree and water; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and basil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • While the sauce is cooking, bring a very large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain and return to the pot.

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir ground beef in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and discard grease. Add ground beef to cooked pasta. Mix in enough tomato sauce to lightly coat the pasta.

  • Mix ricotta cheese and water in a bowl until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  • Spread a ladleful of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add 1/2 of the pasta, all of the ricotta cheese, peas, and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese. Layer the sliced eggs on every section of the pasta; cover with 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese. Pour remaining pasta, Parmesan cheese, sauce, and mozzarella on top. Cover with aluminum foil.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and bubbly, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before cutting, so slices don't fall apart.

Cook's Notes:

If you like a thicker sauce, use about 3 1/2 cups water instead.

Olive oil may be used in place of vegetable oil, if desired.

Instead of layering the peas in the casserole, you can add them to the ground beef, pasta, and sauce mixture.

Nutrition Facts

561 calories; protein 30.1g; carbohydrates 67.6g; fat 18.9g; cholesterol 111.3mg; sodium 771.2mg. Full Nutrition