Baked Ziti with Mini Meatballs

Baked Ziti with Mini MeatballsIs there anything better in life than a hot, bubbly pan of baked ziti coming out of the oven for dinner?!!

Me thinks NOT!!

Baked Ziti has to be one of the greatest pasta dishes of ALL time.

It’s Italian family comfort food at it’s best and a perennial favorite at our house.

I’ve tried many recipes over the years, some good and some just okay.

This recipe from Giada is the one that has become my absolute favorite!

She’s added homemade mini meatballs and taken the dish to a whole new level.

These little babies really rock!

Baked Ziti with Mini Meatballs

Her original recipe calls for tomato sauce.

I wanted to up the flavor a bit so I used an easy to make Marinara.

Use your favorite Marinara recipe or a ready made works out well.

I also add 1-1 1/2 cups of julienned basil to the dish for even more deliciousness.

This is one Killa Baked Ziti!!!

Baked Ziti with Mini Meatballs

Source: Adapted From Giada De Laurentiis

How ’bout a BIG Pin?

Baked Ziti with Mini Meatballs

44 Responses to Baked Ziti with Mini Meatballs

  1. That Girl

    Ziti! Now there's a pasta I haven't had recently. I need to add that in to a meal plan soon.

  2. Rambling Tart

    Wow! That looks absolutely fantastic. :-) I love the idea of the mini meatballs. They're so cute. :-) And all that wonderful fresh basil must be splendid!

  3. Holly

    Mmmmm looks delish! Mini meatballs! Too cute!

  4. Melanie

    I love a good baked ziti – but with meatballs? I'm sure it would be the only meal I would want to eat every day for the rest of my life. Delicious!

  5. Ann

    That looks great. I love baked ziti, mini meatballs would just bring it up a level. I would love this!

  6. Eliana

    Baked ziti IS the best pasta dishes of all time. And you just elevated this dish here. This looks amazing.

  7. Amanda @ Serenity Now

    That looks ah-mazing!!! I don't get to cook cheesy dishes often b/c my husband doesn't like cheese (he is a freak). Your recipe looks fantastic! Visiting from Tasty Tuesday. Hope you'll stop by my blog to say hi. :)

  8. Raina

    I love baked ziti. Yours sounds great. Love the idea of the little meatballs:)

  9. Taylor

    One of my boyfriends favorite dishes is baked ziti…I think he would love it with the meatballs too! Thanks for the idea!

  10. smalltownoven

    Giada never disappoints me with her Italian dishes. This looks amazing!

  11. baking.serendipity

    Love baked ziti! Adding the mini meatballs is such a good idea :) My husband would go crazy for this one for sure!

  12. Kim

    I'm totally won over by the mini meatballs. I know this would be a real family pleaser.

  13. Coleen's Recipes

    I think I'll make this with mini ziti to go along with the mini meatballs!!!

  14. Susi

    Ziti Casserole is always a hit in our house. This looks like a great version with the mini meatballs, that would go over well with my crew :o)

  15. Biren

    This sounds wonderful! I seldom do a baked pasta dish but I have got to try this soon :)

  16. Tammy

    looks yummy! come visit my new blog! daybydaysunshine.blogspot

  17. Barbara

    That's a killer recipe, Kathleen. I love those mini meatballs. Cheese and more cheese is how I love my baked ziti!

  18. Monet

    I must agree…I first tried baked ziti when I was 13, and I fell in love. I may have to make this tomorrow night! Thank you for sharing with me tonight. I hope you have a great Friday. I'm so ready for the weekend!

  19. Amy

    wow, your baked ziti looks absolutely delicious! What a beautiful looking dish that's also comforting and satisfying.


  20. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I'm totally into this for the weekend..

    cook three times!


  21. From the Kitchen

    Be still my heart! This looks delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    Have a wonderful weekend filled with good food.


  22. Leslie

    Giada does rock! I am loving this Ziti. The mini meatballs are just perfect

  23. Southerncook

    I love a good Baked Ziti and this one sounds fabulous. I have all of Giada's books but may not have noticed this one. I will definitely try this very soon.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  24. Megan

    Oooh, I love all that cheese on top, it looks delicious!

  25. Christina

    I love love baked ziti! I usually make mine with italian sausage- so good! That picture with all the cheese melted on top is gorgeous!

  26. Chris

    Look at that cheese goodness! It makes me want to dive in and eat it from the inside out. Excellent post.

  27. Jackie


    In your headnotes you mentioned that you used 11/2 cups of basil in this recipe, but you only have 1 cup of basil listed in the ingredient's list, what happened to the last 1/2 cup of basil.

  28. LH

    What is your marinara recipe? Mind sharing?

  29. Susan Devries

    Your recipe is missing how much milk to use for the meatballs…

    • Kathleen

      Thanks Susan! I’ve fixed the recipe. I appreciate you letting me know 😉

  30. Susan Devries

    No problem, can’t wait to try this, look soooo good:)

  31. Naomi

    I saw this recipe from your homepage slider… YUM! Anything with tomato sauce and baked cheese gets my attention immediately.

    I’ve never made ziti, but I love cooking Italian food and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  32. Pingback: Baked Ziti with Meatballs « Brahms and Cupcakes

  33. Kelly

    Picture shows penne not ziti, but still sound awesome!

  34. Carol Wilton

    i am not a fan a ricotta cheese, is there another cheese I can use?

    • Kathleen

      Hi Carol you could use cottage cheese 😉

  35. Julie

    Made this tonight and while it was good, it was not as good as I expected. The ricotta cheese to sauce ratio was way off. The texture was too grainy. Next time I will half the ricotta and double the mozzarella to improve the smoothness. I made the meatballs with a 1 Tablespoon cookie scoop and they were perfect!! Loved the flavor and texture of them!!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Julie. I’m surprised to hear you found the ratio off. I guess I agree with Giada on this one but I really appreciate your input on the recipe. It’s interesting how we all enjoy things a little different. Good to know the 1 tablespoon cookie scoop worked well. It’s a great idea to use that.

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