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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Don’t Have a “Real” Kitchen? Make Ziti in a Toaster Oven

Modern toaster ovens can fit an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with ease (many can even fit a 13-by-9-inch), making your toaster oven the perfect place to whip up casseroles. One of our favorites, no-boil baked ziti, eliminates the need for a stovetop by streamlining this usually multi-pot affair. We bake the pasta directly in marinara sauce, adding one cup of water to ensure there is enough liquid to cook the ziti. Baking the pasta until it was almost done kept the ziti from turning mushy later on. Since no baked ziti is complete without plenty of cheese, we stirred in mozzarella and Parmesan. Dolloping the surface with ricotta and sprinkling it with more mozzarella and Parmesan formed an exquisite, bubbly crust, and broiling was as easy as the flip of a function. You will need an 8-inch square broiler-safe baking dish for this recipe. This recipe can be easily doubled using a 13-by-9-inch broiler-safe baking pan; increase covered bake to 40 to 45 minutes. 

No-Boil Baked Ziti
Total time: 1 hour
6 ounces ziti or penne
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 cup), divided
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), divided
2 ounces whole-milk ricotta (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Adjust toaster oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine pasta, marinara sauce, water, and salt in greased 8‑inch square broiler-safe baking dish or pan. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until pasta is tender and sauce has thickened, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking.

2. Remove dish from oven, select highest broiler function, and heat broiler. Stir 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan into pasta, scraping down sides and bottom of dish. Dollop pasta with ricotta and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Return dish to oven and broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown around edges, 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Remove dish from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.


Recipe reprinted from Toaster Oven Perfection (2020), with permission from America’s Test Kitchen,