Baked Ziti is delicious but CHEESY BAKED ZITI is even better! This is such a great family dinner and makes some of the best leftovers EVER!

Sometimes I make this just to have the leftovers! 

Just start by browning the meat with lots of garlic. 

Cook until the meat is no longer pink…

Throw the sauce together….

Let that simmer and absorb all the spices…

Make the cheese mixture…

Now build the casserole!

Next is some pasta…

Then just continue layering until everything is in the baking dish!

Cover and bake until hot and bubbly.

 Top off with cheese and throw back in the oven uncovered until the cheese is all melted.

                                                              Top with more fresh basil and serve!


Try these recipes too:

Chicken Pasta

Baked Pasta with Sausage and Ricotta

Pastitsio – Greek Pasta Casserole

Burrata Pasta

Cheesy Baked Ziti

So creamy and cheesy, this is such a great family dinner and makes for great leftovers!
Course dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8


  • 1 pound Ziti pasta
  • 1 pound Sweet Italian sausage
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 28 ounces tomato sauce
  • 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped **or 1Tbsp dried
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • 32 ounce Ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 1 cup mozzarella balls, pearl size **OR 1 cup shredded mozzarella


  • 1 cup mozzarella balls **OR 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup parmesan, shredded
  • fresh basil, cut or torn


  • Cook the Ziti pasta al dente. Rinse and set aside.
  • In a large skillet or pot brown the sausage and garlic over medium-high heat. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.
  • Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir in oregano, basil, salt, pepper and sugar.
  • Bring to a boil. Turn down to med-low and let simmer for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a bowl mix the ricotta, eggs and parmesan cheese.
  • Spread a small amount of the red sauce on the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.
  • Cover with about ½ of the pasta.
  • Use a spoon to drop dollops of half of the cheese mixture onto the pasta.
  • Cover with about ¾ cup of the mozzarella balls.
  • Spoon on about ½ of the red sauce and spread evenly over the pasta.
  • Repeat layers:
    remaining pasta / cheese mixture / mozzarella balls (save some for the top)
  • Spread the remaining red sauce on top.
  • Cover and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Uncover and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and mozzarella balls.
  • Bake another 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with fresh basil.
Keyword cheese, pasta, racotta, ziti