Individual Upside Down Ziti

This is one of the coolest meals I’ve ever made.

I saw this idea on Instagram months ago and I’ve been dying to try my own version of it.  Picture a traditional baked ziti, except here the ingredients are stacked in reverse order and you place a serving plate upside down over a ramekin and turn the plate and ramekin over.  Presto change-o, you’ve got an right-side up ziti.

I’m sure you’ve all seen an idea and tried it, only to see that it did not come out like the picture, whether it be a recipe or a craft.  Well, I was skeptical that the noodles would stay standing up after I flipped the whole deal over, and I was worried the flipped over ingredients would stick in the ramekin, and once it was all facing the right way, I figured it was just going to instantly fall over into a pile of pasta.  In other words, loads of things were already going wrong in my head before I’d even started, but I was so drawn to the idea that I still wanted to try it.

When my parents came over for dinner last weekend I took that as the perfect opportunity to try out this recipe.  I figured the worst that could happen would be that we’d each got a messy plate full of pasta, cheese, and meat sauce.  I could deal with this possibly being an epic fail on the style points issue, but at least it would still be tasty.  As my husband and father say all the time “the stomach knows no looks.”

I felt like I needed a drum roll when I turned over the ramekins onto the plates.  It actually worked!  Well, it worked for the most part!  There were three towers of baked ziti, but one of the towers was more like a leaning tower with a few noodles that had fallen down.  The “leaning tower” was the first one that I turned over and I think it was still too hot.  If you’ve ever cut into a lasagna immediately out of the oven, then you know what I’m talking about.  You do want it to cool a bit because when it’s too hot everything is loosey goosey.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing but if you’re going for an effect then a little patience is important here.

It might be a little bit faster to throw all of the ingredients into a big old pan for a traditional baked ziti.  In fact, if you are feeding a big crowd then that’s the way I would go.  If you’re hosting a dinner party for a few guests, then I absolutely recommend making this individual upside down ziti.  Your guests will certainly be impressed with the cool factor.

You can even make half of the recipe for a romantic dinner for two, like for New Year’s eve or Valentine’s Day.  What?!  You know the second that it hits January 1st, we’ll see Valentine candy and decorations out at the store.  😉

Individual Upside Down Ziti Recipe
(makes 4 servings)


  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 cups sauce (I used my meat sauce recipe.)
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook the rigatoni pasta al dente according to the directions on the box.  Strain the pasta and then set it aside.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese and parsley and set it aside.
  4. To assemble each individual upside down ziti:
    1. I used a 16 ounce ramekin that is 5 inches wide and 3 inches tall.
    2. Place a couple of slices of the mozzarella cheese (equivalent to 2 ounces) in the bottom of the ramekin.
    3. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce.
    4. Spread 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture.
    5. Place the cooked rigatoni pasta, standing up so that you see the hole of the pasta from the top.  I found it best to start from the outside and work my way toward the middle, in a series of concentric circles, and then filling any gaps along the way.  I used about 30 noodles for each ramekin.  You will have a little leftover pasta.
    6. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on top of the pasta.
    7. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese on top.
    8. Place the 4 ramekins on a cookie sheet (so that it’s easy to transport to and from the oven).
  5. Bake them for about 15 minutes.
  6. Let them rest for about 5 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle with a pot holder.
  7.  Run a knife around the inside edge of each ramekin.  This will help make it easier to turn out in tact.
  8. Place a serving plate upside down over a ramekin and turn the plate and ramekin over.
  9. Slowly lift the ramekin to reveal the masterpiece.
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 for the rest of the ramekins.
  11. Serve immediately.

Adapted from: thenaughtyfork




  1. Hanna says:

    This does look amazing! Going to share with my MIL on Facebook. Thanks for sharing Tina! So ‘grammable.

    1. Tina says:

      I really appreciate that, Hanna! 🙂

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