famous baked ziti

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 pound cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • cups grated parmesan cheese divided
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 box ziti
  • 1 jar marinara sauce 28 ounces, divided
  • ½ cup fresh basil chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese shredded


  • 1 pound cooked crumbled italian sausage


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine 1 lb. cottage cheese, 2 eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in medium bowl; set aside.
  • Bring a big pot of water to boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and add 1 box 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 1 cup heavy cream to the pot and whisk in ¾ teaspoon 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, ½ cup basil, and ¾ cup mozzarella, then stir to combine. If using Italian sausage, add to sauce at this point.
  • Transfer cooked pasta to 9- by 13-inch baking dish and add the sauce mixture over the top, stirring carefully to incorporate. Spread remaining marinara evenly over pasta. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over top. Transfer to oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Increase heat to low broil. Broil for 5 minutes until golden and bubbly. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.


  • Serve with a Caesar Salad and garlic bread.


  • Sauce: Make White Baked Ziti by swapping the marinara sauce with alfredo sauce. I also like to add 3 cups of baby spinach and 1 lb. of cooked Italian sausage to the sauce mixture before incorporating with the pasta.
  • Gluten-free: Swap with gluten-free pasta.
  • Dairy: Swap cottage cheese for ricotta cheese.


  • Prepare recipe up until baking then tightly covered with plastic wrap for up to 3 weeks. To cook, pull ziti from the freezer and defrost in your refrigerator overnight. Remove plastic and replace it with foil. Preheat oven to 400º F then transfer Baked Ziti to the oven (still covered with foil) and cook for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil, increase oven to broil and broil for 5 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.


Calories: 1017kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 3201mg | Potassium: 913mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1836IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 559mg | Iron: 4mg