Baked ziti is one of your classic Italian-American dishes – in fact, you could even call it one of staple comfort foods of this hybridized cuisine.  And that’s for good reason, because baked ziti is warm, hearty, and delicious:  it’s tasty carbs paired with red sauce and multiple cheeses.  It also happens to be pretty easy to make, which is why it’s a go-to for so many people who need to whip up something quick for a large crowd.  There are a ton of recipes floating around on the internet, including many that unnecessarily use meat in the sauce or the assembly of the ziti, but we’re going to show you how to make a version that’s totally vegetarian, and sure to be a hit!

You’ll need:

  • A pound of ziti or a similar pasta
  • 5 cups of marinara sauce – you can use a store-bought brand or if you want to make it for yourself gather:
    • 2 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
    • 2 onions
    • 2 carrots
    • Celery
    • Basil
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese

You’ll want to start by cooking your ziti, and while you’re waiting you can also prepare your marinara sauce if you’re making it from scratch – follow the first two steps in this recipe, but double the amount of each ingredient to yield enough sauce.  You’ll also want to mix a cup of ricotta with 1/4 cup of Parmesan.  Once all of these things are ready, mix the ziti with half of the sauce and then gently stir in the ricotta until it’s partially but not fully incorporated into the pasta.




Place half of the pasta into a large casserole dish and smooth it out evenly.  Shred your mozzarella and sprinkle half of it on top.


first layer_1350x900


Now scoop the rest of the pasta on top in another layer, pour the remaining sauce over it, and add the rest of the mozzarella and another 1/4 cup of Parmesan over everything.


second layer_1350x900


Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.




And once it’s cooled off, you can serve up your baked ziti!




See that cheesy pasta goodness, and see how easy it is to make?  Even if you choose to prepare the sauce yourself, this recipe requires only a few ingredients and just a little bit of effort, and what you get is a hot, filling meal that everyone will enjoy.  And because this pasta is so rich, you can either feed a ton of people with this recipe or have leftovers for days.  We like to feature fancy, intricate recipes here sometimes, but we also like to get back to the basics and show you some quick classics, and this is one we enjoy.  It’s a great example of good food which just happens to be vegetarian, and that’s the kind of food we love.