Million Dollar Baked Ziti

Indulge in Luxury: Million Dollar Baked Ziti

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Are you ready to elevate your dinner game? Prepare yourself for a culinary experience like no other with our Million Dollar Baked Ziti recipe. Overflowing with layers of rich flavors and creamy textures, this indulgent dish is sure to impress even the most discerning palates. Whether you’re hosting a special gathering or simply craving a taste of luxury, this recipe is guaranteed to leave you feeling like a million bucks. Let’s dive into the world of extravagance with this extraordinary baked ziti!


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  • 1 lb ziti
  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 16 oz cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated and divided
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes and divided
  • Fresh basil, chopped, for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cook the ziti according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the Italian sausage over medium heat until browned and cooked through, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a spoon. Drain any excess grease.
  4. Add the minced garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil to the skillet with the cooked sausage. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and granulated sugar. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix until smooth and well combined.
  7. Add half of the cooked ziti to the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Top with half of the cream cheese mixture, followed by half of the tomato sauce mixture and half of the chopped mozzarella cheese.
  8. Repeat the layers with the remaining ziti, cream cheese mixture, tomato sauce mixture, and mozzarella cheese.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the top of the assembled dish.
  10. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges are golden brown.
  12. Remove from the oven and let the baked ziti cool for a few minutes before serving.
  13. Garnish with chopped fresh basil before serving.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the Italian sausage for a vegetarian version of this dish. You can add extra vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, or bell peppers for added flavor and texture.
  • Meat Variation: Feel free to use ground beef, ground turkey, or a combination of different meats instead of Italian sausage for a different flavor profile.
  • Herb Infusion: Experiment with different herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or parsley for added depth of flavor.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Substitute gluten-free pasta for the ziti to make this dish gluten-free.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Can I prepare this dish ahead of time? A: Yes, you can assemble the baked ziti ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Just cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before baking as directed.


Q: Can I freeze leftover baked ziti? A: Absolutely! Allow the baked ziti to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake it in the oven until heated through.

Q: Can I use different types of cheese? A: Yes, feel free to experiment with different types of cheese such as provolone, fontina, or cheddar for a unique flavor combination.

Keto Version

To make a keto-friendly version of this Million Dollar Baked Ziti, substitute the pasta with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Use a low-carb tomato sauce and replace the granulated sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or stevia. Additionally, use full-fat dairy products and skip the breadcrumbs for topping.

Low-Carb Version

For a low-carb version, follow the instructions for the keto version and reduce the amount of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes used. You can also add extra vegetables and protein to make the dish more filling without adding extra carbs.

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In conclusion, our Million Dollar Baked Ziti recipe is the epitome of indulgence and satisfaction. With its layers of flavorful ingredients and creamy textures, this dish is a true crowd-pleaser that will leave everyone craving for more. Whether you’re serving it for a special occasion or simply enjoying a cozy night in, this baked ziti is guaranteed to bring a touch of luxury to your dining table. So treat yourself and your loved ones to a taste of extravagance with this extraordinary recipe!

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