Baked Ziti Pasta

Every Sunday, all of my family (cousins and grandparents included) get together for dinner. We have this family tradition where we play Mahjong and TienGow together, so there’s no time for fussing in the kitchen to make dinner. This recipe is great because it can be prepared ahead of time and thrown in the oven when the family arrives.

Serving Size: 8 Servings


  • 1 lb. dry ziti pasta (substitute: penne)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 (26 ounces) jar marinara sauce
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (substitute: plain greek yogurt)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Kitchen Tools:

  • Medium sauce pot or stock pot
  • Large skillet
  • 9″x13″ oven-safe baking dish
  • Foil


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the dry pasta, and cook for 6 minutes. Don’t worry, we are significantly undercooking the pasta because it will finish cooking in the oven later. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the onion and ground beef over medium heat. Be sure to break up the meat into small pieces. Add the marinara sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  4. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, 1/2 mozzarella cheese, 1/2 sauce mixture, sour cream, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese, and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. If you are looking to make this dish ahead of time, stop here, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to two days.
  5. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

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