Baked Sicilian ziti is a hearty Italian favorite that's both easy and versatile. Create a savory traditional version and serve it with a salad, or dress up the ziti with vegetables for a one-pot casserole dish. Use your favorite tomato sauce recipe or a prepared version and add the pasta and freshly grated cheese for a comforting baked entree that's destined to be a crowd-pleaser.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whip up a batch of your favorite pasta sauce recipe or set aside a room-temperature jar of a store-bought variety. Look for sauce ingredients traditional to Sicilian cooking, such as basil, bay leaves, cumin, marjoram oregano, savory, thyme and red pepper flakes.
Prepare the ziti to al dente texture according to package instructions, usually between 7 and 9 minutes. Drain the water off the pasta.
Mix together ricotta cheese and beaten egg in a small bowl. Stir in half of the mozzarella cheese and pecorino romano cheese.
Coat a baking pan with butter, oil or cooking spray.
Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce, then spread half of the remaining tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Spread half the ziti on top of the sauce. Top with half of the cheese and egg mixture. Repeat the three layers, tomato followed by ziti and then cheese. Top with the reserved 1/2 cup of sauce and the reserved mozzarella and pecorino romano cheese.
Cover the baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until hot through and the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.
Traditional Sicilian variations to the basic baked ziti recipe can include eggplant, mushrooms, onions, zucchini or anchovies. Simply add them to the sauce mixture.
If you want to assemble the baked ziti dish ahead of time, bake for 15 minutes covered with foil. When ready to serve, uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.