Baked Ziti (clean out the fridge recipe)



Discover the ultimate comfort food with our Easy Baked Ziti Recipe! Transform your leftover cheeses, cured meats, and sausage into a delightful Baked Ziti, a perfect example of creative, fridge-clearing home cooking. This recipe is not just a delicious way to repurpose pantry staples but also a guide to making a hearty, rustic Italian pasta dish. By adding rich tomato puree and versatile ziti pasta (or any pasta you have in your pantry), this dish becomes a perfect family dinner idea. Get ready to enjoy a homemade, Italian-style baked pasta with meatballs, an ideal solution for a satisfying meal using simple, everyday ingredients. Perfect for busy weeknights or a comforting weekend feast, this Baked Ziti recipe is a flavorful, easy-to-make culinary delight!

Salami 7 oz (200 g)
Sausage 11 oz (400 g)
Onions 1
Garlic 3 cloves
Tomato puree 3 cups (700 g)
Mozzarella cheese 14 oz (400 g)
Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese 3.5 oz (100 g)
Cow's milk ricotta cheese 14 oz (400 g)
Ziti pasta 17.5 oz (500 g)
Thyme to taste
Fine salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Provola cheese 10.5 oz (300 g)
Basil to taste
Flour 00 a few
Extra virgin olive oil to taste

How to prepare Baked Ziti (clean out the fridge recipe)

To prepare the baked ziti, peel and chop the onion 1, do the same with the garlic cloves 2, and cut the salami into cubes 3. 

 Cut the sausage 4, remove the casing, and form small meatballs with the meat 5. Then, roll the meatballs in flour 6.

Heat a generous amount of oil in a skillet 7 and brown the meatballs 8, then add the onion 9.

Also add the salami 10 and minced garlic 11. Then pour in the tomato puree 12, diluting it with a little water, just enough to rinse out the jar. Season with a bit of pepper and salt, as the salami will add savoriness to the sauce.

Cover with the lid and cook the sauce for about 30 minutes 13. Once cooked, set aside 14. Boil the broken ziti in salted boiling water, they should be very al dente 15.

Mix the ricotta with basil, salt, pepper, and oil 16. Cube the provola and mozzarella 17. Drain the ziti into a bowl, saving the pasta water, and pour in the sauce 18.

Combine a portion of the cubed cheeses 19, extend with pasta cooking water if it appears dry 20, and mix to flavor. Butter a baking dish, then pour in a first layer of pasta 21.

Season with Parmesan and a few dollops of ricotta 22. Continue with more pasta, then more ricotta, grated cheese, mozzarella, and basil leaves 23. Bake in a preheated static oven at 355°F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest for 15-20 minutes before serving the baked ziti 24.

How to store

Baked ziti can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days and will taste great even when reheated.


The recipe is designed to use up leftover ingredients: so feel free to vary it based on what you have available, for example, substituting mozzarella with scamorza or dairy cheeses, and salami with cubes of speck or bacon.