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Baked Ziti

  • Author: Kelsey Nixon
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x


This is my go-to meal when a friend is welcoming home a new baby or needs a helping hand with dinner, and feeds a large group so easily! It’s also #meatlessmonday friendly, as the sausage is totally optional.


  • 1 pound cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound ziti or rigatoni
  • 1 (32 oz.) jar marinara sauce – I like Rao’s
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • cracked black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese , cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • Cooked Italian sausage, optional – see directions below


Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in medium bowl; set aside. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot over high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and add pasta; cook, stirring occasionally until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through about 7 minutes. Drain pasta and leave in a colander (do not wash the pot).

Add heavy cream to the pot and whisk in cornstarch over medium heat. Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup marinara sauce, basil, and ¾ cup mozzarella, then stir to combine. (*if using Italian sausage, add here) Add pasta and stir to coat thoroughly with sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta mixture to 13- by 9-inch baking dish and spread remaining marinara sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle remaining ¾ cup mozzarella and remaining ½ cup Parmesan over top. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove foil and increase heat to broil. Broil for 5 minutes until golden and bubbly. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

*You can easily add 1 lb. of sweet Italian sausage to this recipe. Brown the sausage in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden brown and crispy. Then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Stir the cooked sausage into the sauce mixture just before combining with the pasta.

  • Category: main
  • Cuisine: italian