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Ina Garten Baked Ziti Recipe – Easy Kitchen Guide

Last Updated on February 14, 2024

Ina Garten’s Baked Ziti is an Italian classic with hearty flavors, creamy cheese and a delicious homemade tomato sauce. This easy-to-make dish has become a family favorite for weeknight dinners, potlucks and special occasions. 

Ina Garten’s version of baked ziti is loaded with savory Italian sausage, cubed mozzarella and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It’s rich flavor and creamy texture will surely be a hit with everyone at the table!

This recipe includes everything you need to make the perfect Baked Ziti, including step-by-step instructions and tips to help you make the most of this tasty dish. So, let’s get started!

Ina Garten Baked Ziti Recipe

What is Ina Garten’s Baked Ziti? 

Ina Garten Baked Ziti is a classic Italian pasta dish made with ziti noodles, Italian sausage, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. This dish is easy to make and can be served as a main course or side dish.

I’ve also covered Maggianos Taylor Street Baked Ziti, Pasta Napolitana, Pasta Fagioli, Chili Mac. Don’t forget to try out these. You’ll enjoy them for sure.

What does it taste like? 

This baked ziti recipe has a delicious combination of flavors from the savory Italian sausage, creamy mozzarella cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The homemade tomato sauce adds a rich flavor to the dish, while the pasta provides a great texture and consistency.

My family has been making this delicious recipe for years from Ina Garten’s cookbook. I have recreated many of her recipes since then. And now one of my favorite savory dishes from the cookbook is her Baked Ziti. I love to make it for special occasions and family gatherings because it is so easy to prepare and tastes amazing.

How to make Ina Garten’s Baked Ziti? 

Making Ina Garten’s Baked Ziti is easy and doesn’t take too long. All you need to keep in mind is to cook the ziti al dente, make sure you don’t overcook it. Follow the instructions of the recipe and you will be happy to have a delicious baked ziti at your home.

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Ingredients

  • Olive oil – This is used to grease the baking dish.
  • Parmesan cheese – Grated Parmesan cheese adds a delicious flavor to the dish.
  • Quick Tomato Sauce – This tomato sauce recipe follows in the instructions and is simple and quick to make.
  • Ziti – You will need one pound of ziti noodles for this recipe.
  • Mozzarella – You will need one pound of fresh mozzarella cheese, half of which should be cut into cubes and the other half thinly sliced.
  • Crushed red pepper – A pinch of crushed red pepper adds a nice kick to the dish.
  • Kosher salt – This is used to season the dish.
  • Black pepper – This is freshly ground black pepper and is used to season the dish.

Quick Tomato Sauce:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil – This is used to sauté the other ingredients in the sauce.
  • Italian sausage – Sweet or spicy Italian sausage can be used in this recipe, but it must have its casing removed and crumbled.
  • Canned whole peeled tomatoes – A 28-ounce canned of whole peeled tomatoes in puree should be used in the sauce.
  • Basil – Whole sprig of basil adds a nice flavor to the sauce.
  • Garlic – This should be chopped before it is added to the sauce.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – These are used to season the sauce.
  • Onion – A small diced onion gives the sauce a nice flavor.
  • Thyme – Sprig of thyme adds an earthy flavor to the sauce.
Ina Garten Baked Ziti Recipe

Step-by-step instructions 

Step 1: Prepare the quick tomato sauce:

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. Toss in the sausage, stirring until it begins to brown (approx. 3 mins). Add the onion and garlic, sautéing until they are lightly browned (approx. 3 minutes more). Pour in the tomatoes and add the herb sprigs, stirring until everything is boiling. Reduce the heat and allow everything to simmer, with a lid on, for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Discard the herb sprigs and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Spice it up with some pepper, then enjoy it right away or store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for a maximum of 2 months.

Step 3

Now, it’s time to cook the pasta. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 11 by 13-inch baking dish with olive oil.

Step 4

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until it’s al dente yet still slightly firm. Drain off the water afterwards.

Step 5

Combine the cooked pasta, quick tomato sauce, cubed mozzarella, half of the Parmesan, black pepper and crushed red pepper in a large bowl and give it a good toss. Move the mixture to your prepped baking pan. Place the mozzarella slices on top of the pasta and add a sprinkle of the remaining Parmesan. Bake until it’s lightly browned and hot, about half an hour. Serve while it’s still steaming!

Tips:

– If you don’t have Italian sausage, you can also use ground beef or turkey instead.

– You can make this dish ahead of time by assembling all ingredients in advance and just baking when needed. To reheat, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes.

– To make this dish vegetarian, omit the sausage and add 1/2 cup of diced mushrooms to the sauce.

Ina Garten Baked Ziti Recipe

Ina Garten Baked Ziti Recipe

Ina Garten’s version of baked ziti is loaded with savory Italian sausage, cubed mozzarella and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It’s rich flavor and creamy texture will surely be a hit with everyone at the table! This recipe includes everything you need to make the perfect Baked Ziti, including step-by-step instructions and tips to help you make the most of this tasty dish. So, let's get started!
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 570kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • extra-virgin olive oil for greasing, a whisper of liquid gold
  • 1 pound of sweet and/or spicy Italian sausages casing removed and sausage crumbled, a savory melody
  • 1 pound of fresh mozzarella with half transformed into 1/2-inch cubes and the other half elegantly thinly sliced
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper for a subtle dance of heat
  • 1 pound of ziti the spiraled pasta marvel
  • 3.5 cups of Quick Tomato Sauce a vibrant burst of sun-kissed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan aged to perfection
  • Kosher salt a sprinkle from the depths of the sea
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper the dark symphony of spice

Quick Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a fruity drizzle
  • One 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes in puree roughly chopped, a burst of Mediterranean sunshine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper the perfect balance
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped, the aromatic dance in the sauce
  • Sprig of basil the fragrant herb with a hint of Italian charm
  • 1/4 medium onion diced (about 3 tablespoons), a touch of sweetness
  • Sprig of thyme the herbaceous note in this culinary symphony

Instructions

  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. Toss in the sausage, stirring until it begins to brown (approx. 3 mins). Add the onion and garlic, sautéing until they are lightly browned (approx. 3 minutes more). Pour in the tomatoes and add the herb sprigs, stirring until everything is boiling. Reduce the heat and allow everything to simmer, with a lid on, for 10 minutes.
  • Discard the herb sprigs and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Spice it up with some pepper, then enjoy it right away or store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for a maximum of 2 months.
  • Now, it's time to cook the pasta. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 11 by 13-inch baking dish with olive oil.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until it's al dente yet still slightly firm. Drain off the water afterwards.
  • Combine the cooked pasta, quick tomato sauce, cubed mozzarella, half of the Parmesan, black pepper and crushed red pepper in a large bowl and give it a good toss. Move the mixture to your prepped baking pan. Place the mozzarella slices on top of the pasta and add a sprinkle of the remaining Parmesan. Bake until it's lightly browned and hot, about half an hour. Serve while it's still steaming!

Notes

– If you don’t have Italian sausage, you can also use ground beef or turkey instead.
– You can make this dish ahead of time by assembling all ingredients in advance and just baking when needed. To reheat, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes.
– To make this dish vegetarian, omit the sausage and add 1/2 cup of diced mushrooms to the sauce.
Keyword: Ina Garten Baked Ziti, Ina Garten Baked Ziti Recipe

Nutrition Information 

Serving size: 6 to 8 servings

Calories : 590 kcal Carbohydrates : 62 g Protein : 22 g Fat : 28 g Saturated fat : 10 g Cholesterol : 80 mg Sodium : 773 mg Potassium : 613 mg Fiber : 4 g Sugar : 6 g Vitamin A: 847 IU Vitamin C: 11mg Calcium: 321mg Iron: 3mg

What to serve with Ina Garten baked ziti? 

Ina Garten’s baked ziti is a delicious and hearty dish that pairs nicely with a range of sides. For a classic Italian spread, serve the ziti alongside roasted vegetables, garlic bread, and a tossed salad. If you’re looking for something more casual, pair the ziti with chips and dip or some crusty French bread slices.

How to store leftover Ina Garten baked ziti?

You can store the leftover Ina Garten baked ziti in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To freeze, transfer the cooled leftovers to a freezer-safe container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, reheat in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes, covered with foil.

Can pregnant women eat this?

Yes, pregnant women can enjoy Ina Garten baked ziti as long as it is cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F and the ingredients are not expired or past their recommended use-by date. It’s always best to consult your doctor or midwife before consuming any foods, especially when pregnant.

FAQs 

Can I use store-bought tomato sauce instead of making it myself?

Yes, you can use store-bought tomato sauce as a substitute for the quick tomato sauce recipe provided in this guide. Make sure to adjust seasonings according to your preference.

What other cheeses can I use for this recipe?

You can substitute the mozzarella with other cheeses like cheddar or provolone. Alternatively, you can also add a mix of cheeses to create a unique flavor.

Can I substitute the ziti with other pasta shapes?

Yes, you can substitute the ziti with other short-cut pasta such as penne, rigatoni or macaroni. The cooking time may vary depending on the type of pasta used. Be sure to adjust accordingly.

Is there a vegan version of this recipe?

Yes, you can make a vegan version of Ina Garten’s baked ziti by substituting the Italian sausage with plant-based options such as Beyond Sausage or Impossible Burger and using vegan cheese instead of regular dairy cheese. Additionally, you can omit the Parmesan cheese altogether.

Can I add vegetables to the dish?

Yes, you can add vegetables such as mushrooms, bell peppers and onions to the sauce for an extra flavor boost. Saute them with the other ingredients before adding the canned tomatoes. Alternatively, you can also layer cooked vegetables in between the layers of ziti.

Wrapping Up

Ina Garten’s baked ziti is a delicious and hearty dish that can be customized to suit your preferences. Follow the step-by-step instructions provided in this guide for an easy yet flavorful meal that will please everyone at the table!

Be sure to adjust seasonings according to your preference and add vegetables for a healthy flavor boost.

I hope you liked this Ina Garten’s Baked Ziti Recipe guide! Make sure to let me know how it turned out for you in the comments section below. ​

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My name is Lori Walker. I’m a registered dietitian, food blogger and food enthusiast. I share easy healthy, delicious recipes on my blog and review necessary kitchen items. The recipes I share take less… Read more

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