Giada's Baked Ziti With Meatballs

Total Time
1hr 40mins
Prep 40 mins
Cook 1 hr

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis Show: Food Network Specials Episode: An Italian Christmas With Mario and Giada

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, eggs, milk, 1/2 cup of the Romano and the parsley, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Add beef and gently combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape into bite-size meatballs. Roll each meatball in flour to coat, shaking off excess.
  3. In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. If not using immediately, cover top with plastic wrap so that pasta does not dry out. Do not rinse pasta with water since you want to retain the pasta's natural starches so that the sauce will cling to the ziti.
  4. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. When almost smoking, add meatballs in batches and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes. Turn meatballs and brown other side. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown. Remove meatballs to a plate.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the tomato sauce and ricotta and mix well. Add the cooked ziti and meatballs and toss gently.
  6. In a large greased baking dish, pour in pasta mixture. Sprinkle the mozzarella, Parmesan, and remaining Romano all over the top. Dot with the butter. Place baking dish on top of baking sheet covered with aluminum foil to collect any drippings from the dish. Bake until top is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes.


Most Helpful

I found this recipe a bit dry also, too much ricotta cheese. Also I like my own recipe for meatballs a lot better. Way too much cheese on top. Will not make it again

Paula802 December 28, 2014

This is a terrific recipe if you know that when it says tomato sauce, it really should be marinara sauce. In the show, Giada uses a prepared marinara which gives extra flavor. If you use plain tomato sauce it will be very bland. I have made this recipe many times, as is, or with shortcuts of pre-made meatballs. I prefer less ricotta and cut that down to 2 cups.

CALaura March 19, 2009

This is the best pasta dish EVER! Make it exactly as written and you can't believe how good it is! Definitely for special occasions (butter on cheese! it really makes a difference, don't skip it, lol) but OMG it is fantastic!!

Melissa and Her Pants October 16, 2008

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a