Italian American Comfort Food, My Mother’s Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is Italian comfort food. Several pounds of rich, delicious cheese, pasta, and my marinara sauce are the key components added to this dish. To me, there’s nothing so creamy and tangy and warming than a luscious bowl of baked ziti.  Bake an entire tray and feed your family for week or bring it to your sick, stressed, or mourning neighbor along with a loaf of Italian crusty bread, salad and dressing.

What You’ll Need

  1. A 9 X 13 Pyrex dish or disposable baking pan.
  2. A sharp knife.
  3. 1 large bowl.
  4. 1 small bowl and fork.
  5. 1 measuring cup.
  6. Cutting board.
  7. A wooden spoon, of course.


  1. 1 pound dried ziti pasta.
  2. 1 pound fresh mozzarella: half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced.
  3. 1 cup of parmesan cheese – either freshly or pre-grated.
  4. 1 15 oz. container of ricotta cheese.
  5. Marinara sauce.
  6. 1 extra large egg.
  7. A nice handful of finely chopped parsley.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Par-cook ziti (half the cook time, per the directions), make sure to add the salt AFTER the water is boiled; it should be like sea water. Drain and set aside.
  3. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat.
  4. Mix ricotta, 2 and 3/4 cups of marinara sauce, egg, parsley, the cubed mozzarella cheese, 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  5. Add the drained ziti. Mix.
  6. Prepare the cooking tray by adding a layer of marinara sauce to the bottom.
  7. Pour the pasta mixture into the cooking tray.
  8. Evenly pour the remaining 1/4 of marinara sauce on top of the pasta mixture, followed by the sliced mozzarella cheese.
  9. Sprinkle with 1/4 parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake for about 45 minutes uncovered – when it’s done, the cheese will look delicious and bubbly.

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