This easy Baked Ziti uses Italian sausage for the meat and made flavorful by homemade Italian seasoning. Topped with white sauce and mozzarella cheese.
I really love this baked ziti recipe because it is not all that much work to prepare.
You can even simplify it further by just using your favorite chunky pasta sauce and a ready-mixed Italian seasoning.
But for those who do not have the ready-mix but have some basic dried spices at home, you can make it from a scratch, easily.
How to make Simple Homemade Italian Seasoning
Combine 1 teaspoon of the following:
- Black pepper
- Dried Oregano
- Dried Basil
- Dried Rosemary
- Dried Thyme
- Grind them all together using a mortar and pestle, if you are into doing it the old-fashioned way like I normally like doing. Or you can also use an electric spice grinder like I do when I am too lazy to bother or do not have enough time.
- Add some onion and garlic powder and salt if you really want it to be like the ready-mixes.
- You may also make more and store the rest in an airtight spice jar and use it for other recipes requiring Italian seasoning.
I did not bother adding the garlic and onion powder since the recipe itself adds them in fresh form.
How to make Baked Ziti
Cook ziti pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain water. Toss together the tomato-based sauce and the cooked ziti pasta. Transfer into a 13x9-inch baking dish. Pour in white sauce and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes until cheese has melted and bubbly.
That is it! It is a very straight forward procedure and can be made easier if you use pasta sauce and bechamel sauce from jars.
Can I make baked Ziti ahead of time?
This dish is perfect if you are preparing for an event or occasion and want to make it as stress-free as possible. You can make this baked Ziti up to two days ahead.
Just follow the instructions except for the baking part. Instead, spray or grease an aluminum foil or plastic wrap with some oil. Cover the dish with it and refrigerate.
When it is time to serve, bake covered at 180°C for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bake it further until cheese is bubbly.
Easy Baked Ziti
- 1 pound Ziti pasta
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 1 cup (150g) Italian sausage (Salami) - cut into small pieces
- 1 can (400g) diced tomato
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes - optional
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Cook Ziti pasta in boiling water as per package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pan or pot, saute garlic and onion in oil over medium heat until aromatic. Add the salami and cook while stirring from time to time until slightly browned.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add the Italian seasoning, chili flakes, and season with salt as needed. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the cooked ziti to the sauce. Toss together until all pieces are well coated with sauce. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir until well mixed. Gradually add milk while stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
- Once all the milk is added and sauce starts to thicken, add the grated Parmesan cheese. Stir again until it becomes smooth and no more lumps are visible. Remove from heat.
- Add the sour cream and salt to the sauce. Pour half of the white sauce to the pasta and toss to mix.
- Transfer the pasta to a 13x9-inch baking dish and pour the remaining white sauce on top. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly on top of the sauce.
- Bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes until cheese has melted and bubbly.