Dana’s favorite meal of all time is baked ziti.  I have never made it, so I decided to tackle it.  I used a basic marinara sauce and then went from there.  My first problem was that the local grocery stores did not carry ziti.  They carried penne and rigatoni.  I opted for the bigger rigatoni noodles.  It turned out to be a great choice.  Dana loved it and gave the recipe two thumbs up.

Bake Ziti – (From Jane Duffin)

  • 1 lb box ziti, rigatoni, tortiglioni or penne
  • 3 cups marinara or 24oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 15oz tub ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz freshly grated Parmesan Cheese


  • 13×9 pan
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large pot, boil 6-8 quarts of water and cook the pasta till partially done.  For ziti or rigatoni cook for 10 minutes and drain.

Cooked Rigatoni

Grease a 13×9 pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Add the ricotta to the sauce

In a large bowl combine the marinara sauce and the ricotta cheese.

Mix well

Mix well until the cheese is thoroughly blended.  Make sure not to have any huge ricotta lumps.

Mix in the sauce and cheese

Add the drained pasta to the pan.  Then pour the marinara and ricotta mixture over the top.  Also add half of the mozzarella cheese.

Top with cheese

Top the pasta with the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese.

Baked Ziti

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is browned.

Plate and Serve

Serve with some garlic bread and you have a great meal.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


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