Sunday Pasta ® Recipe: Pasta al Forno (Baked Ziti)

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Sunday Pasta Pasta al Forno (Baked Ziti) 640

Pasta al forno, or baked pasta (ziti in this case),  is a triple comfort food. First, although almost any type of pasta can be used, the very thought of “baked ziti” is sure to bring back warm memories from years ago, when it was a staple at school functions and family gatherings. And then, there is the physical comfort that comes when you taste the hot, oozing mixture of cheese and sauce, especially on a cold day. And finally, there is the heart-felt praise you receive for serving it.  My own kids sprang from their chairs to hug me when they tasted it.  So this winter, go for an Italian comfort food trifecta.  You’ll be thrice warmed.  Though I do offer one word of caution:  Although I am certain about the nostalgic impact and the delicious recipe, whether you actually earn the hugs will depend on your own culinary skills and personality.  Unfortunately, these things are beyond my control.

Sunday Pasta® Recipe: Pasta al Forno (Baked Ziti)

Prep Time: 90 minutes

Serves: 8

Sunday Pasta<sup>®</sup><span> Recipe</span>: Pasta al Forno (Baked Ziti)


1 lb ziti (or other tubular pasta)
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 lb mozzarella
4-6 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
For the Sauce: (Depending on taste, you may want to double the recipe)
1 28+ ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4-6 basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper


Start to prepare the sauce:

Chop the onion and fry it in the olive oil until golden brown. Puree the tomatoes and add to onion. Add the basil, salt, and pepper. Cook on low heat, uncovered for 1 hour until reduced.

While the sauce is cooking, prepare the Ricotta mixture:

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, parsley, Parmigiano, salt and pepper. Cut the mozzarella into pieces and mix in 3/4 of it into the ricotta mixture.

Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 1/2 of the packages' recommended time (it will continue to cook in the oven). Drain the pasta and add it to the ricotta mixture. Mix in 1/2 of tomato sauce. Coat the bottom of an oven proof bake pan (9 x 12) with a spoonful of sauce. Add the pasta mixture to the bake pan. Cover with the remaining mozzarella, a sprinkle of Parmigiano and a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce. Bake uncovered at 350 for approximately 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately with a spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of Parmigiano.

Check out our wine pairings for Pasta al Forno and our About post that gives a brief history of the dish.

Buon Appetito!
Ed Garrubbo


Edwin Garrubbo

Edwin Garrubbo

Ed Garrubbo has been studying, cooking, searching for, and thinking about la cucina italiana for as long as he can remember. He cooks a wide range of Italian dishes, but loves his pasta most. He visits restaurants, cooking schools, markets, and food artisans across Italy, and wherever Italians practice their craft. He is a member of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, and is a citizen of both the United States and Italy.

10 Responses to Sunday Pasta ® Recipe: Pasta al Forno (Baked Ziti)

  1. By the way Senor Garrubbo…your food photography is scrumptious enough to try to eat it off the photo. Bravo ancora.

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  2. Edwin Garrubbo Edwin Garrubbo says:

    thanks. it aint easy to take a food foto! but im learning slowly. enjoy!ed

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  3. Dirk van de Bunt says:

    Every week I tell myself your weekly recipe will get me to actually use the kitchen other than as a take-out food distribution station. I think this recipe will make this week *the* week.

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  4. Edwin Garrubbo Edwin Garrubbo says:

    Hi All. A couple of people told me that they needed more sauce, so you may want to increase the amount you make. i will increase the recipe to 6 cups. ed

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  5. Ashley says:

    The picture looks delicious I can’t wait to try! I have a meat sauce recipe of my grandmothers that I think would work really great with the ziti. Also love the suggested wine pairings!

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  6. Mike says:

    Can this be made ahead of time (a day or so)?

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