Nonna's Baked Ziti - Pasta al Forno

Nonna Romana's Baked Ziti or Pasta al Forno, is the perfect dish for a Sunday Dinner, a festivity or when you have company over.


For 4 Person(s)

For the Sauce:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 56 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • peperoncino
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

Pasta & Garnishings:

  • 1 pound ziti
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed


  1. Prepare the Sauce:
    1. In a sauce pan, add the extra virgin olive oil, the onion, the garlic, the bay leaves, the peperoncino and the salt. Let everything saute until the garlic turns golden and the onion is translucent.
    2. Add the ground meat and brake it up so that it browns uniformly.
    3. Once the meat has browned, add the wine and let it evaporate.
    4. Add the chopped tomatoes and the basil. Let the sauce cook for 30 mins.
  2. Assemble the Dish:
    1. Pre-heat the oven at 450F
    2. Cook the ziti until they are half way done. Rinse the pasta under cold water.
    3. Take a baking pan and add 4 scoops of sauce at the bottom.
    4. Add half of the pasta and spread it evenly.
    5. Add another light coating of sauce followed by a generous sprinkle of cheese, followed by the shredded mozzarella.
    6. Add the other half of the ziti. Cover the ziti with a coating of sauce and Parmigiano cheese.
    7. Bake the dish for 20 mins. Remove from the oven, add the cubed mozzarella and continue baking for another 10 mins.
    8. Let the dish rest for about 15 mins. and serve.



Recipe Notes

PS:  The extra sauce can be used to make it either with Orecchiette or Rigatoni.


Monday, 14 October 2019
This is the best ever recipe!!! Thank You Nonna Romana for sharing it! Growing up Italian I thought ...
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- drew99
Friday, 04 October 2019
Baked this today. It is delicious, easy to make and have plenty left for when grandchildren come ove...
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- Xochitl
Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Made this last nigh. Simple to make and very good. Diana liked this and said that it is a keeper. - Stargazr76
Monday, 12 March 2018
I made Nonna's Baked Ziti for my family last Sunday and it was a BIG HIT!!! I never made any baked ...
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Saturday, 30 December 2017
Delicious and easy to do! Made this for Christmas Eve dinner for the first time and it was a big hit...
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- bttrfly30