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close up of ricotta baked ziti with serving spoon
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4.42 from 17 votes

Ground Beef and Ricotta Baked Ziti

The easiest, meatiest and cheesiest Baked Ziti Casserole you’ll ever have. A must try for everyone. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 567kcal
Author: Vanessa

Ingredients

  • 1 lb box ziti pasta
  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 jar marinara sauce, separate 1/2 cup sauce and set aside
  • 15 oz container ricotta cheese, separated
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, separated

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare pasta according to box instructions.
  • Using a food processor or a blender, pulse together onion, bell pepper, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix the seasoning with ground beef.
  • In a large skillet, pour oil and cook meat over medium heat until all meat has browned. Add marinara sauce. Stir until combined and let simmer for about 10 minutes. (Reserve 1/2 cup of marinara sauce for the baking pan.)
  • In a big bowl, mix together pasta, meat sauce, half of the ricotta cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with the left over marinara sauce. Transfer pasta to the baking pan. Drop spoonfuls of ricotta cheese over the top and sprinkle with leftover mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes or until cheese has completely melted. Serve warm with a side of bread and/or salad.

Notes

  • Cook the pasta al dente. If you overcook it, the casserole will become soggy when it is baked.
  • You can easily add in some extra vegetables like carrots or mushrooms if you like. Just soften them in a skillet before mixing with the pasta and baking.
  • The ground beef can be substituted with ground turkey, chicken, pork or bison.
  • Let the ricotta baked ziti cool before storing the leftovers.

Nutrition

Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 554mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 453IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 279mg | Iron: 2mg