Baked Ziti With Ground Beef and Italian Sausage

Baked ziti with ground beef

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 12 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
640 Calories
37g Fat
26g Carbs
52g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 640
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 17g 84%
Cholesterol 176mg 59%
Sodium 1255mg 55%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 52g
Vitamin C 17mg 84%
Calcium 623mg 48%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 1095mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This delicious baked ziti casserole is similar to lasagna—a layered dish of pasta, ricotta, meat sauce, and mozzarella—but it's not as time consuming. The ziti is cooked and tossed with the cheeses and meat sauce, and then layered with more sauce and cheese before it's baked until golden and bubbling.

In this recipe, lean ground beef and Italian sausage are the base for the tomato meat sauce, which is flavored with onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. This ideal blend of meats not only tastes great but also helps the dish to stay moist during cooking. 

This hearty pasta bake makes a fabulous meal with a simple salad and crusty garlic bread.


For the Meat Sauce:

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound lean ground beef ,at least 85% lean

  • 1/2 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Ricotta Mixture:

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the Baked Dish:

  • 8 ounces ziti pasta

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese ,divided

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for ziti with ground beef
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  2. Heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease or spray a 2 1/2- to a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

    Grease baking pan
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Make the Meat Sauce

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, sausage, and onion. Cook, stirring until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is translucent.

    Beef, sausage, chopped onion, and oil in pan
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  2. Add the garlic to the meat mixture and cook, while stirring, for 1 minute longer.

    Add the garlic to the pan
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  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 12 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.

    Add crushed tomatoes to the pan
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Make the Ricotta Mixture

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, and mozzarella cheese. Stir until well blended.

    Add the cheeses to a bowl
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Make the Pasta

  1. While the sauce is simmering, cook the ziti in boiling salted water following the directions on the package. Drain well.

    Cooked and drained ziti in a colander
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  2. Add the hot drained pasta to the bowl with the ricotta cheese mixture. Toss lightly to blend.

    Drained ziti and cheese mixture combined in a bowl
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  3. Add 2 cups of the meat sauce to the ziti mixture.

    Add some of the meat sauce to pasta
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Layer the Baked Dish

  1. Transfer half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.

    Transfer half of the pasta to the baking dish
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  2. Spread about half of the remaining meat sauce over the pasta, and then top with the Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of the remaining mozzarella.

    Spread meat sauce and add cheese
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  3. Top with the remaining pasta mixture.

    Top with more ziti
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  4. Finish with the remaining meat sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

    Topping dish with cheese and parsley
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Bake the Pasta Dish

  1. Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly around the edges.

    Baked ziti dish
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  2. Serve and enjoy.