This Copy Cat Olive Garden Ziti al Forno is one of the easiest recipes ever and the best baked ziti recipe that takes like a restaurant dinner while being made at home. With only 6 ingredients this copycat olive garden recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. Serve with a homemade fresh salad and bread. To make this easy olive garden dinner a full meal we like to pair it with copy cat olive garden salad and breadsticks.
Copy Cat Olive Garden Ziti al Forno recipe
I love going out to eat, but I don’t always love having to get everyone ready and out the door to go. Plus it gets rather expensive for a family of 6 to be eating out. To save money and still have recipes we all enjoy I come up with copycat recipes so we can enjoy them at home.
Many years ago a friend of mine told me that she was making this for dinner and I added it to our meal plan the following week. My entire family loved it, plates were cleared and they all told me it was their favorite copy cat olive garden recipe aside from the homemade alfredo, that I have made. Since then we have added this easy Olive Garden recipe to our meal plan as often as the kids ask for it. It is simple to make, and is the perfect comfort food pasta dish.
This easy copycat olive garden five cheese ziti al forno recipe is one of our favorite easy weeknight meals. I can make this pasta dish with homemade sauce or store bought sauces. Then some veggies, a salad, and some bread for the side dishes, and dinner is done.
This easy to make Olive Garden Ziti recipe has a cream tomato alfredo sauce, ziti noodles, and a tasty cheese mixture to make for the perfect pasta comfort food that tastes just like you are sitting at the restaurant without having to leave my house.
Copy Cat Olive Garden Recipes
- Shrimp Alfredo
- Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce Recipe
- Olive Garden Chicken
- Olive Garden Salad
- Olive Garden Salad Dressing
What does al forno mean?
It’s an Italian way of preparing food in the oven such as pizza, lasagna, pasta, and bread. Basically, it is a fancy way of saying that you are baking something in the oven.
Tips for Making this Recipe
Spray the baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. You can use any type of cooking spray, but it is important to spray the dish so the pasta doesn’t stick to the baking dish.
Don’t over cook the pasta. When you are cooking the ziti noodles until it is just shy of al dente.
Variations of this recipe
Homemade Alfredo. If you have extra time then you can use homemade alfredo sauce instead of jarred alfredo sauce.
Use Homemade Marinara. If you have time you can make homemade marinara sauce instead of using jarred sauce. You can also use tomato sauce instead of marinara sauce if you do not have any on hand. You can also use homemade pasta sauce or jarred pasta sauce. You can also use jarred five-cheese marinara sauce that you can find in the local grocery stores.
Change up the noodle. You can use any type of pasta noodles that you have on hand. I use whatever I have on hand, sometimes it is ziti noodles, sometimes I use bow tie pasta or even shells.
Change up the Cheese. To make my life easier I use the Asiago, mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, and Romano 5 cheese blend. If you can not find the 5 cheese blends you can use the 3 cheese blends and if you can’t find that you can totally use just mozzarella cheese.
Change up the meat. I like to use ground sausage but you can also use ground beef. If you are not a fan of meat in your ziti you can totally make it a meatless ziti as well.
What to Serve with Olive Garden Ziti al Forno
Most of the time I make things easy on myself and serve this easy copy cat pasta recipe with veggies, a salad, and bread but there are lots of easy side dishes that go well with it.
When I make a salad I like to make one with one of my favorite homemade salad dressings like Honey Poppy Seed dressing, Homemade Balsamic Dressing or lime vinaigrette dressing. I just about always have one of them already made in the fridge. If I want to get fancy, then I make an avocado BLT salad. If you are wanting to stick with the Olive Garden theme, you can easily make a salad with Olive Garden Salad Dressing.
How to Store Leftovers
Allow the cheese ziti al forno copycat recipe to cool completely and then wrap the dish with plastic wrap or pour the leftover ziti into an airtight container. Store the leftovers in the fridge, they will keep for 3-4 days.
Can I freeze Ziti Al Forno?
You can freeze this recipe before baking or after baking it, the choice is up to you and however you prefer. If you are freezing before baking, prep the whole ziti and freeze it before baking it and it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you are baking it and then freezing it allow it to cool completely and then freeze it.
When you want to serve the ziti, remove it from the freezer, and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Copy Cat Olive Garden Ziti al Forno Ingredients
- 2 cups Alfredo sauce
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1.5 pound ground pork sausage
- 1 pound Ziti pasta
- 8 ounces shredded 5 Italian Cheese (Asiago, mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, and Romano) blend shredded cheese.
- 3 ounces parmesan cheese
How to Make Olive Garden Ziti al Forno
Cook ziti noodles according to package directions and drain.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
While ziti noodles are boiling cook the sausage in a deep dish skillet or large saucepan and drain sausage grease.
Add the cooked ziti noodles to a large bowl (you can also keep them in the pot you cooked them in if you want to cut down on dishes).
Add the 2 cups alfredo sauce and marinara sauce to the hot pasta and mix well.
Add the ground sausage to the mixture of marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, and ziti noodles and mix well.
Spray a 9×9 baking dish with nonstick spray. Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared dish.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese and parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes on the center oven rack until cheese is melted on top.
Easy Pasta Recipes
- One pot Chicken Alfredo
- Baked spaghetti
- Chicken Asparagus Alfredo Pasta
- Chicken Bacon Pasta Ranch Casserole
- Cauliflower Mac and cheese
- Bow tie Ziti
- Homemade Lasagna
Copy Cat Olive Garden Ziti al Forno
- Cook noodles according to package and drain.
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- While noodles are boiling cook the sausage in a deep dish skillet and drain sausage grease.
- Add the alfredo sauce and marinara sauce to the noodles. Add in the ground sausage and mix well.
- Spray a 9×9 baking dish with nonstick spray. Pour the pasta mixture into the 9×9 baking dish.
- Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted on top.
19 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving for 6 servings.