Baked Ziti or Zitoni pasta with spicy sausage.

Baked ziti pasta with spicy sausage.

Baked ziti pasta with spicy sausage, sometimes also called ‘ziti alla diavola’ (devilled), is a great Neapolitan dish for those who love spicy food. Pasta prepared in this way is really flavourful and this recipe is simple and fast to make.

baked ziti pasta with spicy sausage

Ziti alla diavola al forno.

Ziti and its slightly wider cousin zitoni are long pasta originally from Campania, usually made from durum wheat semolina and water. They look like narrow tubes, but are both about 25 cm long! This pasta is traditionally broken into smaller pieces by hand before cooking. But, for this recipe you can keep the pieces long or break them. Already cut ziti and zitoni are also available to buy.

baked ziti with spicy sausage

Use Ziti instead of other pasta tubes.

There are a number of delicious Italian recipes for baked Ziti or Zitoni from Campania, as well as Puglia, Calabria and Sicily where this pasta is also popular. In addition, Ziti can be used in other baked pasta recipes such as those for candele (an even longer pasta!) or penne or rigatoni (pasta tubes) . In the same way, if you can’t find long tubes, you can use short ones instead.

ingredients for baked ziti with spicy sausage

My family loved this baked ziti dish!

In this recipe for baked ziti pasta with spicy sausage, the pasta is dressed with spicy Calabrian sausage (it looks like chorizo or pepperoni) cooked in a tomato and onion sauce with basil.

spicy sausage and red onions in skillet

The ingredients are layered in an oven dish and enriched with slices of scamorza and mozzarella. The result is cheesy, spicy and so very moreish! Both my hubby and my eldest son had second helpings, so make sure you make enough. Leftovers are tasty too, so don’t worry if you make too much. Stick it in the fridge and eat it the next day!

spicy sausage and onions in tomato sauce with basil in skillet

Which kind of spicy sausage?

It’s better to use spicy Calabrian sausage or salami if you can find it to obtain the right kind of spicy! I used a semi-soft salami but the sausage can also be fresh. I think chorizo would work well too if Calabrian sausage is hard to find.

long ziti from pastificio sorrentino

The pasta.

For this recipe, I used long ziti made by a small pasta company called Pastificio Sorrentino, I visited in Gragnano, Naples back in June. This company produces 2 ranges of pasta. One is a bio range made with organic durum wheat semolina and it’s sold under the L’Anima di Gragnano label. I used this pasta in my mezzi paccheri with fresh tuna recipe. The other is sold under the L’Oro di Gragnano label and is a certified Pasta di Gragnano IGP.  The latter is the type of pasta I used for this baked ziti recipe!

cooked ziti in skillet with spicy sausage and tomato sauce

You can read all about  Gragnano and what Pasta di Gragnano IGP means in my post about my visit. But in short, Gragnano is a town located close to Naples. It’s been a hub of dried pasta production for nearly half a century! Pasta carrying the Pasta di Gragnano IGP certification is made under strict production and ingredient quality regulations. It’s like saying DOC for wine!

Baked Ziti or Zitoni pasta with spicy sausage

Scamorza or mozzarella?

Some versions of this recipe are made with only mozzarella or only scamorza. This time I used both. It made the dish really cheesy! But, I have also made it before with smoked scamorza, which was delicious too. You can choose to use any of these cheeses or two kinds together.

ziti with spicy sausage in oven dish before baking

Easy to make!

This baked ziti pasta with spicy sausage recipe is pretty easy to make. All you need is some small tomatoes, tomato passata, some cheese (scamorza and/or mozzarella) spicy sausage, basil and the pasta, plus some wine, an onion and grated pecorino.

baked ziti pasta with spicy sausage

Layer everything in an oven dish ( I used a terracotta one) bake for 20 minutes and serve. It’s perfect for Sunday lunches or other days when you need to feed a bigger number. The only important thing to keep in mind is that every one has to like spicy food!

baked ziti with spicy sausage from calabria

Let me know what you think!

If you are like me and love baked pasta dishes, this is going to be one you’ll love. If you give it a try do let me know how it turns out, either by commenting below or on the Pasta Project Facebook page. And if you feel it’s worth sharing with friends please do. All your feedback and support is much appreciated!

Buon Appetito!

This recipe was originally published on 5th August 2017 but has been updated.

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baked ziti with spicy sausage long image

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Other ziti recipes you may want to try!

  1. Neapolitan baked ziti al gratin
  2. Ziti with Italian lardo
  3. Ziti with Neapolitan alla Genovese ragu
  4. Parmigiana timballo with Ziti

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baked ziti with spicy sausage in terracotta oven dish

5 from 13 votes
baked ziti pasta with spicy sausage
Baked Ziti or Zitoni pasta with spicy sausage.
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

A delicious Southern Italian baked pasta recipe that's perfect for those who like spicy food. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Southern Italian
Keyword: baked pasta recipe, pasta al forno, pasta bake, spicy sausage, ziti
Servings: 4
Calories: 769 kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 300 g Ziti or Zitoni pasta (10 oz)
  • 200 g Sausage or soft salami (spicy) ( 7oz)
  • 200 g scamorza cheese and/or mozzarella or smoked scamorza (7oz)
  • 400 g peeled tomatoes or tomato passata (14) I like to use cherry tomatoes and passata together
  • 1 onion
  • 6-8 basil leaves chopped
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 60 g pecorino grated (2oz)
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Cut the sausage/salami into thick slices, remove the skin from each slice and cut it into small pieces. If you are using a soft sausage you can save some pieces to be added when layering the dish.

  2. Peel and chop the onion and let it simmer in a frying pan or skillet with extra virgin olive oil. When it becomes transparent, add two thirds of the spicy sausage pieces if they are soft and all if you are using a harder sausage.

  3. Let the sausage brown a little, then add the wine. Increase the heat until the alcohol evaporates, then add the cherry tomatoes (if using) let them cook a little. Then add the peeled tomatoes or passata. 

  4. Add salt to taste and then, cover the sauce and let it cook on a medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When nearly ready add chopped basil.

  5. Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Break the pasta into pieces if it's too long for your pot. Cook the pasta very al dente according to the instructions on the packet.

  6. In the meantime, cut the mozzarella and/or scamorza into slices.  

  7. Save a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta and add it to the prepared sauce. If the sauce seems too dry had some of the pasta cooking water first.

  8. Grease a baking dish with olive oil. Put part of the pasta with sauce in an even layer on the bottom of the dish. ( I used a terracotta dish)

  9. Cover the pasta with some slices of cheese and some of the remaining sausage pieces (if soft sausage). Make a second layer of pasta and continue this way until the ingredients are exhausted, ending with the pasta

  10. Finish the dish with some more pieces of scamorza and mozzarella and a generous sprinkling of grated pecorino.  

  11. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 ° for about 20 minutes or until the cheese on top starts to brown. You can also finish it off under the grill for 2 minutes if it isn’t brown enough after 20 minutes in the oven.

  12. Let the baked pasta rest for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

If you can't find long ziti or zitoni, this dish can be made with candele pasta, broken into smaller pieces or already cut ziti or zitoni or other pasta tubes like penne, rigatoni etc.

If you can't find spicy Calabrian sausage, you could also use chorizo.

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  • Avatar
    October 30, 2019 1:00 am

    OK… I did make a number of substitutions based on what I had on hand and found a the market this weekend but I’m happy with the result. No scamorza so I used a mix of taleggio and mozzerella (with the Pecorino as well). Bronze dye penne for the pasta. Calabrian spicy salami cut into small chunks instead of sausage. Homemade passata from this summer’s tomatoes. Yum. Thanks for the idea! Your site is a recent discovery for me – I’m sure I’ll be trying more!

  • Avatar
    October 21, 2019 8:32 pm

    Now this is my type of dish!! Totally obsessed with spicy sausage so this is a must-try. Thanks for the very informative post!

  • Avatar
    October 21, 2019 8:26 pm

    We are always looking for new pasta recipes to try and this looks delicious.

  • Avatar
    October 21, 2019 8:06 pm

    I have never used zitoni pasta. It was delicious. and the family ate it up!

  • Avatar
    October 21, 2019 8:06 pm

    I could eat pasta every day of the week, so I love your blog! I’ve never seen long ziti like that, but now I’m really anxious to try it. This looks like a classic dish my grandma used to make.

  • Avatar
    September 30, 2018 3:35 pm

    sounds like a great recipe. I love comfort food!!

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 4:25 pm

      Thanks Camila! Pasta really is the ultimate comfort food and this baked pasta is delicious!

  • Avatar
    Lauren Vavala @ DeliciousLittleBites
    September 30, 2018 3:25 pm

    Yum! This is the perfect comfort food recipe to start the season! I love that the sausage is spicy – so warming!

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 4:26 pm

      Grazie Lauren! Yes the spicy sausage really makes this baked pasta so warming! Literally!

  • Avatar
    Claudia Lamascolo
    September 30, 2018 3:02 pm

    oh this looks so good I love this idea with the spicy sausage baked with that pasta it looks yummy

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 4:27 pm

      Thanks Claudia! Spicy sausage really goes well in baked pasta! It’s a family favourite here!

  • Avatar
    Amy | The Cook Report
    September 30, 2018 11:22 am

    This looks so cheesy and delicious!

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 4:28 pm

      Thank you Amy! Yes very cheesy! That’s how I like it too!

  • Avatar
    Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    September 30, 2018 10:40 am

    This looks so incredible! I love the fact that you used both cheeses – I’d do that too, I love really cheesy things!

    • Jacqui
      October 4, 2018 4:29 pm

      Thanks Bintu! The more cheese the better, that’s what I say!

  • Avatar
    Catherine Brown
    September 11, 2018 8:55 pm

    I love ziti! I think I’ve only ever seen it when it’s already cut into the short pieces… never long ones. You have access to some FABULOUS pastas! I love a spicy sauce too, so I know my family will like this one. Do you ever use whole grain pasta?

    • Jacqui
      September 18, 2018 3:08 pm

      Hi Catherine, I know there are so many different types of pasta here in Italy. We’re really spoiled for choice! Yes I use whole grain pasta too. It’s become very popular with Italians and many companies now produce organic pasta from heritage grains and even other types of flour instead of wheat!

  • Avatar
    Yvonne Cuschieri
    August 17, 2017 9:33 pm

    Hi Jacqui, really scrumptious recipes.
    Tried quite a few.
    The baked macheroni one I usually add eggs.
    Will definitely try it with mozzarella

    • admin
      August 18, 2017 7:05 am

      Dearest Yvonne, I’m very happy to hear you like the recipes here and have tried a few. That’s super. My hubby’s Sicilian family also sometimes put eggs in their baked maccheroni. It’s popular to do so in Southern Italy and delicious too! Have you seen one of my earlier baked pasta recipes from Calabria called L’mbruscianta? That has eggs and meatballs! Quite a dish! I hope you’ll keep coming back to visit my blog. Lots more delicious recipes to come. All the best. Jacqui

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