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Ultimate Baked Ziti with Ricotta and Sausage

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian


Easy-to-make baked ziti made with ground sweet Italian sausage, melted ricotta and mozzarella cheese. All made in a single cast iron skillet, no boiling required.


  • 1 pound ziti or penne, uncooked
  • 1/21 pound ground sweet Italian suasage
  • 24 ounces marinara/pasta sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups water*
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1 8 ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 68 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Additional basil for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat, combine olive oil and garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Add ground sausage, breaking up with the tip of a spatula into small chunks. Cook until browned, about 7-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add marinara, water, chopped basil, and 1/2 cup of ricotta. Stir until fully incorporated.
  4. Mix in uncooked ziti. Be sure the ziti is evently distributed to the edges of the skillet and mainly fully submerged. It’s okay if a few are floating on the surface.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove skillet from the oven and give the entire dish a quick stir to evenly mix sausage and ziti.
  7. Top with mozzarella chunks and tablespoon-sized dollops of ricotta. Turn the oven to 500 °F or high broil. Bake uncovered for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and starting to brown. Top with fresh basil and serve.


If you use 1/2 pound of sausage or omit the sausage altogether, you only need 2 cups of water as opposed to 2 1/2.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 643
  • Sugar: 13.5g
  • Sodium: 884mg
  • Fat: 25.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 74.6g
  • Fiber: 5.6g
  • Protein: 29.5g
  • Cholesterol: 68mg

Keywords: baked ziti, baked ziti with ricotta, baked ziti with sausage


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