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baked ziti with meat sauce sliced and placed on a plate

Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce Recipe

This Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce is a crowd-pleaser pasta recipe made with layering ziti with ricotta and homemade tomato-meat sauce. This dish not only feeds a crowd, but also freezes beautifully.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 657kcal


For the meat sauce:

  • 1- tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1- teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt

To Assemble The Baked Ziti:

  • 1- cup ricotta cheese preferably homemade
  • 1- cup mozzarella cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped


  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 F Degrees.
  • To make the meat sauce: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the ground beef and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often. You would have to break the large pieces of meat as it is cooking.
  • Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they are translucent, 7-8 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring it to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh basil.
  • Make the pasta: In the mean time, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and ziti. Cook until it is al dente, 8-9 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • To assemble: Spread a thin layer (approximately 3-4 tablespoons) of the meat sauce at the bottom of a large (oven-proof) casserole dish (I used a 9X11 Pyrex). Place half of the ziti onto the sauce and spread it all over the bottom of the dish. Pour half of the meat and tomato sauce over it. Place 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese in dollops evenly on the meat sauce. Spread the rest of the ziti evenly as a second layer. Pour the rest of the meat sauce over the ziti and spread evenly using a spatula. Spread the rest of the ricotta cheese in dollops on top. Sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese on top turns golden brown.
  • Sprinkle it with fresh parsley and serve.



Calories: 657kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 1768mg | Potassium: 795mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1738IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 234mg | Iron: 3mg