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Baked Ziti With Ricotta From Rossella Rago

Evi Abeler

The Italian-American cookbook author and social media star shares her recipe for Ziti al Forno with Ricotta (Baked Ziti)

Nothing brings people together like a phone call from Nonna saying she made a big tray of baked ziti. This variation, which is meatless and heavy on the ricotta, strikes the perfect combination of cheesy, saucy deliciousness and will have everyone fighting over the crispy, almost- burnt pieces of pasta on top. You know that’s the best part! This recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled when you need to feed a small army. And once they hear you’re making baked ziti, everyone will spontaneously cancel plans and show up!

SEE ALSO: Rossella Rago Writes About Her New Cookbook, Cooking With Nonna: Sunday Dinners With La Famiglia (plus, a broccoli stromboli recipe)

Baked zito photo by Evi Abeler

Ziti al Forno with Ricotta (Baked Ziti)

Ziti al Forno with Ricotta (Baked Ziti)

Recipe by Rossella Rago
0.0 from 0 votes


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 2 tablespoons 2 extra- virgin olive oil

  • 1 small 1 onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 1 25-ounce 1 jar tomato purée or 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • water to rinse jar or can

  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt

  • 4-5 4-5 fresh basil leaves, torn

  • 1-1/4 cup 1-1/4 whole-milk ricotta cheese

  • salt for cooking

  • 1 pound 1 dried ziti

  • 8 ounces 8 fresh mozzarella, diced into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 grated Parmigiano- Reggiano, divided


  • In a medium saucepan, heat the oil on medium.
  • Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the tomato purée or crushed tomatoes and salt.
  • Fill the jar or can with 2 inches of water, rinse it out, and add the water to the pan, along with the basil.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the ricotta until combined.
  • Ladle out 2 cups of sauce.
  • Drop the pasta into a large pot of generously salted boiling water.
  • Cook for half the time specified in the package instructions then drain.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Ladle 1 cup of the reserved sauce into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  • Add the drained pasta to the remaining sauce and toss until evenly coated.
  • Add half the tossed pasta to the baking dish and top with 4 ounces of mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Repeat with the remaining pasta, sauce, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and top with the remaining mozzarella.
  • Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

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