Spicy Baked Ziti

December 22, 2022
3 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 5 to 6
Author Notes

For this cozy dish, we’re making a super luxe baked ziti. You can make this in under 45 minutes if you play your cards right and you pay attention. This is a dish that my mom used to make, and I’m so excited to make it for you. By mixing three kinds of cheese together—Parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella—you’re providing an unctuous, rich topping to the dish that’s going to melt, bubble, and ooze deliciously when baked. —Romel Bruno

What You'll Need
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Spicy Baked Ziti
  • 1 16 ounce box dry ziti noodles
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried chile flakes
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil, for garnish
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Cook your pasta 2 minutes less than box directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-low heat, add the onions and sauté for about 2 mins until translucent. Add sausage and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, making sure to break it into bits with the back of the spoon. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and dried chile flakes. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and chicken stock. Mix together, season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta and 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese; add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a 9x13 baking dish, add the pasta and the sauce mixture. Gently mix to combine, then flatten into an even layer. Making small divots in the mixture add the ricotta and mozzarella mixture. Top with the last 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella. Add basil, roughly torn, on top and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 7 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nora Welch Zahner
    Nora Welch Zahner
  • mark vontilius
    mark vontilius
  • Msmarymcc

3 Reviews

mark V. December 24, 2023
Romel Bruno is so fun to follow. Made this recipe for friends and immediately earned a spot in my top 10 most requested meals. What a delicious to eat and easy to reheat meal. Give this a try but only if you are ready to make it again after it disappears and your guests or family are begging for it again and again. My only tip, do not skimp on the chicken stock! Toss a bit more stock in when reheating and it will be new again.
Msmarymcc January 4, 2023
I knew I had to make this when I saw the YouTube video. It was as delicious as it looked and super easy to make! This recipe is a keeper. Thank you Romel!!
Nora W. December 30, 2022
This was good, quick, and easy. We used sweet Italian chicken sausage and a little less chili pepper flakes since I was cooking for kids. I also baked it in the dutch oven I made the sauce in. The recipe does not say when to add the parmesan, so I added it to the mozzarella on top at the end and it was delish!