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Baked Ziti For Two

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!

A serving of Baked Ziti for Two on a plate.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

How many servings does this make?

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.

Can I use a different pasta?

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.

Can I use a different size baking dish?

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.

Do I have to use the Italian sausage?

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.

Can this recipe be doubled?

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.

How to store leftover Baked Ziti?

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.

Can this be made in the crock pot?

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.

How to reheat baked ziti for two?

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.

A serving utensil getting a large serving of Baked Ziti for Two out of a baking dish.

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.
Ziti pasta noodles, Italian ground sausage, pasta sauce, Grated Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese.

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.

collage for two photos: cooked ziti pasta in a collander; cooked ground italian sausage in a skillet.

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.

collage of two photos: pasta sauce added to skillet with Italian sausage; cooked ziti pasta added to skillet with sauce.

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.

collage of two photos: Baking dish with the first few layers of uncooked baked ziti; unbaked baked ziti in a glass casserole dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese starts to brown and it is bubbly along the edges.

Fresh baked really in a glass casserole dish.

Garnish with fresh parsley for garnish if using, and serve immediately.

A large serving of Baked Ziti for two on a white dinner plate.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

A close up of a large serving of Baked Ziti being taken from a casserole dish.

Baked Ziti for Two

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!
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups uncooked ziti noodles
  • ½ pound ground Italian sausage (or ground beef)
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (or small curd cottage cheese)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • fresh chopped parsley for dried parsley, or garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • 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.
    Cooked and drained ziti pasta in a strainer.
  • 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.
    Browned ground sausage in the skillet.
  • Drain any excess grease off of the sausage if needed. Stir in the pasta sauce and parmesan cheese.
    Cooked ground sausage, Parmesan cheese, and pasta sauce in a skillet.
  • Add the ziti pasta to the pan and coat in the sauce. Take off the heat.
    Cooked ziti pasta in a skillet with red sauce.
  • Add half of the ziti mixture to the baking dish. Spread the ricotta on top and add half of the mozzarella.
    Baking dish with the first few layers of uncooked baked ziti.
  • Add the remaining ziti mixture and top with the remaining mozzarella.
    Unbaked baked ziti in a glass casserole dish.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese starts to brown and it is bubbly along the edges.
    Fresh baked really in a glass casserole dish.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley for garnish if using, and serve immediately.
    A large serving of Baked Ziti for two on a white dinner plate.

Notes

  • 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.
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian

Nutrition

Calories: 1394kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 74g | Fat: 83g | Sodium: 3030mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“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.

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Brandie saves dinner..again! I had a half pound of ground Italian sausage leftover and wasn’t sure what to do with it when your email with this recipe hit my inbox. Talk about fate. This was the perfect solution. I started following you years ago when I had two more mouths to feed. I love your approach. Having pictures of the ingredients is ingenious. I especially love your “classic” (retro) recipes. Some of them are from my childhood and bring back memories. But I digress..this recipe is easy, delicious and will be a staple in my house. Thanks! I’m looking forward to more recipes for two.

  2. My husband, like Michelle’s, recently passed away so I am also glad to see recipes for smaller groups. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for starting this series. I really like your recipes but my husband just passed away and I was looking other places for small batch recipes. Now I can stay here with you!