Simple Baked Ziti Recipe – Love and Lemons

Feeding a crowd? This baked ziti recipe is the simplest method to do it! Saucy, tacky, comforting, and flavorful, this fuss-free pasta is all the time successful.





Have you ever tried this baked ziti recipe?! It’s a fan favourite on the weblog, and it’s certainly one of our household favorites as nicely. If in case you have but to make it, I hope you’ll this season. This simple baked ziti is an ideal no-fuss recipe for feeding a crowd, and the combo of marinara sauce, pasta, and three (sure, three!) sorts of cheese is so comforting at the moment of 12 months.

This baked ziti recipe is my veggie spin on the model I grew up consuming. Reliably current at each potluck or get together I attended, it was my favourite consolation meals. I liked the jumbles of noodles combined with tangy tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and Italian sausage or floor beef. Nowadays, I skip the meat in favor of creamy ricotta and plenty of recent spinach, however this baked ziti recipe remains to be hearty, satisfying, and filled with taste. I adore it, and I believe you’ll too.


Ziti pasta in a pot with spinach and marinara sauce


Baked Ziti Recipe Elements

Right here’s what you’ll must make this baked ziti recipe:

  • Ziti, after all! One other tube-shaped pasta, equivalent to penne or rigatoni, would work properly too.
  • Marinara sauce – If I’ve the time, I like to make use of my home made marinara sauce right here, which comes along with a fast 20-minute simmer on the range. However store-bought sauce is honest sport too! I like to recommend Rao’s.
  • Ricotta cheese – It creates a creamy layer within the heart of the baked ziti. For the perfect texture, be sure that to make use of entire milk ricotta on this recipe.
  • Garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and purple pepper flakes – I take advantage of these elements to season the ricotta. The garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes add traditional Italian taste, and the lemon zest brings a scrumptious, sudden brightness.
  • Recent spinach – It wouldn’t be a Love & Lemons recipe if it wasn’t loaded with recent veggies! I sauté a complete pound of spinach in olive oil earlier than stirring it into the pasta.
  • Smoked mozzarella and pecorino cheeses – For topping. The smoked mozzarella offers the pasta a kick of wealthy, smoky taste, which I really like, however for those who can’t discover it, no worries! Sub in common mozzarella. And in a pinch, salty, nutty Parmesan cheese is a good sub for the pecorino.
  • Torn recent basil and chopped parsley – I sprinkle them over the ultimate dish for a recent, vibrant completion.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all of the flavors pop!

Discover the whole recipe with measurements under.


Layer of ziti and marinara topped with dollops of ricotta and spinach in a baking dish


The right way to Make Baked Ziti

This baked ziti recipe is simple to make! Right here’s the way it goes:

First, cook dinner the pasta. Carry a big pot of salted water to a boil, and cook dinner the pasta till al dente. Watch out to not overcook it! It would soften extra whereas it bakes.

Whereas the pasta cooks, make the ricotta cheese combination. Stir collectively the ricotta, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and purple pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.

Subsequent, sauté the spinach. Drain the pasta, and warmth a glug of olive oil in the identical pot. Sauté the spinach till it’s simply wilted. Tip: Work in batches right here! I do 1/2 pound at a time in order that the spinach cooks evenly. I like all of it to be tender and vibrant inexperienced, not slimy or soggy. Once I work in batches, I’m in a position to hit that candy spot each time.

Gently squeeze a number of the extra moisture out of the sautéed spinach and roughly chop it.


Pasta with marinara sauce and sautéed spinach in a baking dish


Then, combine every part collectively. Return a lot of the spinach and the entire pasta to the pot, together with all however 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Stir till every part is nicely mixed.

Lastly, layer it up. Unfold the remaining sauce on the underside of a giant casserole dish, and unfold half of the pasta combination over it. Dollop within the ricotta and the reserved spinach, and scoop the remainder of the pasta on prime. High with the grated smoked mozzarella and pecorino cheeses, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake till the cheese is golden brown and effervescent. Get pleasure from!


Saucy ziti pasta in a baking dish topped with grated cheese


Need to get forward?

This baked ziti freezes nicely. Assemble it as much as the purpose of baking, cowl it tightly with foil, and freeze for as much as 3 months. To reheat, bake, coated, at 350°F for an hour, or till heated by way of. Uncover and bake till the cheese on prime is browned and effervescent.

As an alternative of freezing the pasta, you can too assemble it a number of hours, and as much as day, prematurely, cowl it, and retailer it within the fridge. Permit it to sit down at room temperature for half-hour earlier than baking based on the directions within the recipe under.


Easy baked ziti in a baking dish topped with basil and chopped parsley


What to Serve with Baked Ziti

This baked ziti recipe is a scrumptious chilly climate important dish. Pair it with garlic bread, garlic knots, or home made focaccia for sopping up any stray marinara sauce. Spherical out the meal with an enormous salad. Any of those could be incredible:

Not feeling the salad? Skip it, or go for a easy veggie facet dish as a substitute. Roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, and sautéed inexperienced beans would all be nice selections.

The baked ziti is greatest on the day it’s made, however leftovers preserve nicely for as much as 4 days within the fridge. Reheat particular person parts within the microwave, or heat bigger portions in a coated pan in a 325°F oven.


Baked ziti recipe


Extra Favourite Consolation Meals Recipes

In the event you love this simple baked ziti recipe, strive certainly one of these comforting dishes subsequent:

Need simpler dinner concepts? Take a look at this submit!

Simple Baked Ziti

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook dinner Time: 30 minutes

Complete Time: 45 minutes

Serves 6 to eight

This baked ziti recipe is simple to make and excellent for serving a crowd. Full of tangy tomato sauce, al dente pasta, and three sorts of cheese, it is comforting and scrumptious.

  • 4 cups (32 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon purple pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, extra for the pasta water
  • Freshly floor black pepper
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 pound recent spinach
  • cups smoked mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped recent parsley and/or torn basil leaves, for garnish
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Unfold ½ cup marinara within the backside of a 9×13-inch baking dish.

  • In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, purple pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and several other grinds of recent pepper.

  • In a big pot of salted boiling water, cook dinner the pasta based on package deal instructions till al dente. Drain.

  • Return the pot again to the range. Over low warmth, drizzle the underside of the pot with a little bit olive oil and add the spinach. Toss and sauté 1 to 2 minutes till simply wilted, working in batches if needed. Flip off the warmth, take away the spinach from the pot, and gently squeeze out a number of the extra water. Coarsely chop it and put aside.

  • Add the pasta again to the pot together with the remaining marinara, a lot of the chopped spinach, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and extra recent pepper and toss till mixed.

  • Add half the pasta to the baking dish, prime with dollops of the ricotta, the remaining spinach, and scoop the remaining pasta on prime. High with the mozzarella and pecorino cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and bake till the cheese is browned, 16 to 22 minutes.

  • Garnish with recent basil or parsley and serve sizzling.