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
- 1/2–1 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
- 6–8 basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Additional basil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 °F.
- 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.
- Add marinara, water, chopped basil, and 1/2 cup of ricotta. Stir until fully incorporated.
- 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.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove skillet from the oven and give the entire dish a quick stir to evenly mix sausage and ziti.
- 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.
Keywords: baked ziti, baked ziti with ricotta, baked ziti with sausage