This Baked Ziti for Two recipe is everything you love about traditional ziti but in a smaller portion. Plus it’s ready in only 45 minutes!
EASY DINNER RECIPE FOR TWO
Don’t need a huge pan of baked ziti? Whether you have a smaller family, are empty nesters, or college students that don’t need meals for 8 people, or are just looking for smaller portions, this recipe is for you. I did a survey recently and folks overwhelmingly requested more “Meals for Two” recipes. There were over 10,000 participants and nearly 80% requested these smaller meals. In general, most recipes are fairly easy to cut in half but sometimes it’s nice to have an exact recipe for your needs. So this recipe will be the start of a series of smaller portioned recipes!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Depending on your preferred serving size, this can make 2-4 servings. It’s not always easy to get a recipe to make an amount exactly for two people because we need to work in the confines of using baking dishes that most people own. For example, if I require the use of ramekins in a recipe, it would be out of reach for many people since the average kitchen does not have ramekins. Also, serving sizes can vary for two people. If two male college roommates are making this, they are more than likely to want larger portions than say a retired couple. I had a lot of college students respond in my survey as well that they wanted these smaller recipes too. So I have to make sure I am accounting for the general public at large.
I would say, in general, this would give you two larger (generous) servings or 4 smaller servings. This particular recipe stores well in the refrigerator and can easily be frozen. It makes for a fabulous lunch the next day if you do have any leftovers.
Sure thing, if you want to use a different pasta than ziti, just make sure it is the same quantity of pasta. Rotini works well here.
After doing a bit of research, I found the majority of people own a 9×13-inch casserole dish and an 8×8-inch baking dish. So I want to use the most common dishes that people are likely to own. You could certainly use a 9×9-inch dish, but you may need to slightly adjust the cooking time.
Of course not. I was just trying to bump up a bit of the flavor. You can certainly just use ground beef instead of the sausage.
This recipe was specifically designed to be a smaller portioned recipe. But I just know there will be someone that will ask. If you like this particular recipe then just double it. However, you will need to adjust cooking times. I have a traditional Baked Ziti recipe that may be more helpful for you to check out and you can get an idea of cooking times as well.
Leftovers should be stored in a container and should be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you don’t want to use your small amount of leftovers within those 4 days, you can freeze them for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container.
Only if you have a smaller 2 or 3 quart crock pot. In general, most people own a 4 quart or larger. This will dry out and burn in an average size crock pot.
If you do have a smaller crock, you would make it the same as below then add to the crock pot. Take a little of the leftover sauce and spread a bit of that on top. Cook on low for 2-3 hours then at the end, add the mozzarella cheese topping and cover the crock pot until melted. I would also be inclined to use small curd cottage cheese instead of ricotta as ricotta can dry out in the crock pot and the cottage cheese will keep it nice and saucy.
Reheat your leftover ziti covered with foil in the oven so it doesn’t dry out or in the microwave. Sometimes I like to sprinkle a tad bit of water on the pasta before reheating in the microwave so it doesn’t get dry.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- uncooked ziti pasta – you can use other pasta shapes. Just use the same amount and try to use one that is relatively the same size.
- ground Italian sausage – If you like a bit more spice, try using hot ground Italian sausage. It can also be swapped out for ground beef
- pasta sauce – you can use your favorite store-bought sauce or make your own homemade pasta sauce. I am a huge fan of Rao’s sauce. It can be pricey though so please use what is within your budget. Keep any leftover sauce. You can use it for serving since some people may like more sauce than others. It’s also great for reheating leftovers.
- grated parmesan cheese – I am just using the stuff in the green bottle here.
- ricotta cheese – can be swapped for small curd cottage cheese.
- mozzarella – you can use pre-shredded store-bought mozzarella cheese or you can use an 8-ounce block of fresh mozzarella and shred it yourself – whatever you have the time and patience for.
HOW TO MAKE BAKED ZITI FOR TWO
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Cook the ziti noodles per the directions on the box, drain well, and set aside. While the ziti noodles cook, brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break it up into crumbles and cook until there is no pink left, about 10 minutes.
Drain any excess grease off of the sausage if needed. Stir in the pasta sauce and parmesan cheese. Add the cooked ziti to the pan and coat in the sauce. Take off the heat.
Add half of the ziti mixture to the baking dish. Spread the ricotta on top and add half of the mozzarella. Add the remaining ziti mixture and top with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese starts to brown and it is bubbly along the edges.
Garnish with fresh parsley for garnish if using, and serve immediately.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Baked Ziti for Two
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook the ziti noodles per the directions on the box, drain well, and set aside.
- While the ziti noodles cook, brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break it up into crumbles and cook until there is no pink left, about 10 minutes.
- Drain any excess grease off of the sausage if needed. Stir in the pasta sauce and parmesan cheese.
- Add the ziti pasta to the pan and coat in the sauce. Take off the heat.
- Add half of the ziti mixture to the baking dish. Spread the ricotta on top and add half of the mozzarella.
- Add the remaining ziti mixture and top with the remaining mozzarella.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese starts to brown and it is bubbly along the edges.
- Garnish with fresh parsley for garnish if using, and serve immediately.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.