Emily’s Baked Ziti. This baked ziti has a sweet, amazing sauce! It doesn’t take much time or effort to put it together. And, it’ll feed a crowd, which is good, since the taste will bring one!
Emily and I met when we were 14 years old. At first, I didn’t care for her. But, she wore on me, and by the time we were 15, we were inseparable. Throughout high school we had slumber parties where we would cook. Mostly dessert. And mostly no-bake and chocolate chip cookies. We ruined many of other mamas’ pots. And, despite hearing from our mamas about how we were going to die of salmonella, we ate a lot of cookie dough.
Then Emily and I went to college together, became roommates in a dorm, and then roommates in our first apartment. During that time, we decided to step up our cooking game. We gathered family recipes, bought cookbooks and kitchen gadgets, and did a lot of cooking for each other and our other roommates.
Emily and I saw each other through many food highs and lows. For example, I once had a recipe from my grandmother for mac & cheese that said “get the largest box of macaroni.” I bought the largest one I could find, which was something like 48 ounces. Looking back, I’m sure my grandmother had meant 16 ounces, so as you can imagine, it was interesting and confusing for everyone.
Emily’s family recipes were always a hit. Especially her spaghetti. So when she texted me last week and asked if I wanted her ziti recipe, I said “OF COURSE!” She told me that this ziti is her most requested recipe. I made it, ate, and understand why it is requested … it is delicious! It makes a ton, making it perfect for a crowd, it freezes well, and is just pure amazing comfort food.
This baked ziti sauce is sweet and savory. It's easy to put together, and it'll feed a crowd, which is good since a crowd will want to eat it.
- 29 oz + 12oz can of tomato sauce
- 12 oz can tomato paste
- 29 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1.5 tablespoons oregeno
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 pound ground beef
- 16 ounce box ziti
- 8 ounce bag shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 ounce bag shredded Italian cheese
In a large pot on stove over medium heat, stir together tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, and sugar.
Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, brown beef with salt and pepper to taste. Once cooked through, remove from heat and drain fat.
Add beef to sauce and allow to simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
Cook ziti according to package instructions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove 2 cups of beef sauce from pot and set aside.
In pot with sauce, stir in ziti, 6 ounces of mozzarella cheese and 6 ounces of Italian cheese.
Place mixture in 9x13 baking dish.
Use remaining sauce to cover top of mixture and top with remaining cheeses.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Emily recommends Hunt's brand for all tomato sauce, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes.
If you place in fridge after preparing, you will need to bake for about an hour.
If you freeze, let thaw before baking for best results.
If you enjoyed this Baked Ziti, you should check out these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Things used to make this recipe. All affiliate links, but all I recommend.
- Le Creuset Stoneware Oval Baking Dish I got this thing for Christmas. It’s worth the hype. It’s bakes well and cooks evenly, but mostly I love that it takes me all of 10 seconds to clean … stuff just slides off of it.
- Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick Pots We got these as a wedding gift and I found that they made a big difference in my cooking.