This is seriously the Best Baked Ziti Ever. Your family is going to love the homemade meat sauce, and that ricotta and cream cheese topping takes it to the next level!
Baked pasta dishes are something special; they are in their own classification of comfort food, because they are just that dang good. Ziti has been a tradition since the Renaissance, served commonly at special gatherings, weddings, and celebrations. Also known as Ziti al Forno, this traditional oven-baked pasta is more of a method than an exact science. Depending on the region of Italy, it could be a veggie heavy meal, or it could be loaded in hearty meats and fat.
This classic Baked Ziti is all about the simple, whole ingredients. Ziti can be hard to find in stores, but there is something special about the history of Ziti pasta. Made from scratch meat sauce might seem tedious and unnecessary, but make no mistake, your time and effort will be worth it once you take that first bite. Go ahead and serve this up with some garlic bread, and you have yourself a feast!
Does baked ziti need mushrooms?
Not Necessarily. We love the added flavor and texture from the mushrooms, but you can absolutely omit them if you don’t love them.
Can I use low-fat cheese?
There are some things that just shouldn’t be messed with, and whole-fat cheese is one of them. In all seriousness, do what you need to do in regards to cheese, but the flavor and texture of whole milk cheese can’t be beat!
Ziti is the traditional pasta that’s been used for this dish, but we know how difficult it can be to find! If you need to substitute, head for the Penne pasta or rigatoni. They are both a similar shape and size, and will work well in this dish.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other amazing pasta recipes:
- Most Amazing Lasagna
- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- Authentic Pasta Carbonara
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Pasta Pomodoro
Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
So delicious and cheesy and perfect!!!!
Love this recipe, but I made a couple of changes- I added 1/2 cup fresh basil and 1/4 cup fresh parley (much like her lasagna sauce which is superb!). I also added shredded mozzarella. I mixed the cheeses into the ziti instead of leaving it on top. The cream cheese adds such a nice creaminess.
Really great recipe! I followed the recipe exactly. I like to do that the first time I make something and adjust things the next time if needed. It was a hit with my family and easy to make. I used canned mushrooms which I think worked very well. Only thing I would do different next time is use 2lbs of ground beef. But that is a personal preference. My guys are all big meat eaters!
This really is the BEST baked ziti ever!! This is my families favorite dish and trust me, with 4 picky kids, that says something! Stuck to the recipe exactly with just a couple slight modifications. I add about 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the sauce (I do this with all my homemade sauces per my families taste), I almost double the cheese mixture and sprinkle some mozzarella on top. I mean, who doesn’t love cheese!! Absolutely delicious!!