I am half Italian, was raised eating the finest Italian-American cuisine, and have filmed almost 2000 recipe videos, so when you consider all of those facts, it seems incredible that I have never posted a video for baked ziti. Hopefully I make up for that long wait by posting what I think is the best version of it.

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
1 hr 45 mins
additional:
15 mins
total:
2 hrs 20 mins
Servings:
10
Yield:
10 servings
Advertisement

Ingredients

10
Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Cut down the length of each sausage with a sharp knife. Remove and discard casings.

    Advertisement
  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan set over high heat. Add sausages and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up with a spatula, until the sausage begins to brown, and the onion turns translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add oregano, thyme, and rosemary and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in marinara sauce. Pour 1 cup water into each jar to rinse out remaining sauce; add to the saucepan. Stir together and bring sauce to a simmer.

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Turn off heat and reserve until needed. Before using, skim any excess fat that rises to the surface.

  • While sauce simmers, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 or 2 minutes less than the directions on the package call for, about 8 minutes. Drain well and transfer into a large mixing bowl.

  • Carefully add the meat sauce and stir until thoroughly combined. Let rest for 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a large 9x15-inch or 9x13-inch casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer half of the pasta and sauce mixture to the prepared dish, then use a spatula to even out into a uniform layer. Top with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, and then 1/2 of the grated Pecorino Romano cheese, being sure to distribute evenly. Top with the rest of the pasta and sauce mixture and give the pan a little shake to settle the sauce. Repeat the cheese application.

  • Bake in the center of the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and the casserole is piping hot, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Top with parsley.

Chef's Notes:

You can use all mild or sweet sausage, or all hot.

You can use Parmesan cheese instead of Pecorino.

Nutrition Facts

627 calories; protein 30.8g 62% DV; carbohydrates 58.1g 19% DV; fat 29.5g 45% DV; cholesterol 71.8mg 24% DV; sodium 1380.1mg 55% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (28)

Read More Reviews
34 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 32
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
09/24/2020
Absolutely delicious! Used chicken sausage instead, this will be added to my meal plan!!! Thank you Chef John!! Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2020
Made the recipe exactly as Chef John. Turned out fantastic! I've had baked Ziti before, and he's right, most of the time it's too dry. This one had enough sauce to keep it moist. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
10/05/2020
somehow it wasn't as saucy but next time I'll add more water even though I followed instruction on that part. Read More
(2)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2020
I just made this for dinner and it definitely is the best baked Ziti I've ever had. I used Rao's Marinara Sauce since I think that's what Chef John used in the video based on part of the label I could see (I paused and zoomed in). I followed the recipe exactly and didn't even need to add more salt and pepper. It was perfect and will be making this again. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
10/05/2020
Amazing. Made it exactly like Chef John did except that I made my own marinara sauce for it. It was perfect Definitely do skim off the grease from the sauce before tossing in the pasta. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
09/27/2020
Followed Chef John's recipe and it came out perfect. Rave reviews. Thanks again Chef John for convincing me cooking is as easy as you make it look. Read More
(1)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2020
Delicious Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
10/01/2020
Excellent! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
10/01/2020
amazing Read More
(1)