The ULTIMATE Baked Ziti

The ULTIMATE Baked Ziti – copycat Olive Garden Baked Ziti Al Forno. SUPER easy to make and tastes AMAZING! Ziti pasta, Italian sausage, spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, parmesan, panko bread crumbs, garlic, and olive oil. It can make in advance and refrigerate or freeze for later. Hands down the best pasta casserole we’ve ever eaten! #pasta #casserole #olivegarden #bakedziti #freezermeal

baked ziti on a plate with salad

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Copycat Olive Garden Baked Ziti Al Forno

I have a confession, I haven’t eaten at the Olive Garden in years. I’m talking maybe 20 years. I’m not really sure why. I droll over the commercials. The food looks amazing. I came across a copycat recipe for Olive Garden’s Baked Ziti Al Forno and had to give it a try. O-M-G! This is The ULTIMATE Baked Ziti recipe. It is hands down the best I’ve ever eaten. The sauce, the yummy topping, and all the CHEESE! This is definitely a new family favorite!

plate of baked ziti

How to Make the Ultimate Baked Ziti

The Ultimate Baked Ziti is super easy to make. Start with boiling some pasta. While the pasta is cooking, brown some Italian sausage in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Drain the fat. Add spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, provolone cheese, and parmesan cheese. Drain the cooked pasta and stir into the sauce mixture. Pour the pasta into a large baking dish. Combine parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, garlic, and olive oil. Sprinkle over the pasta and bake. I like to garnish the casserole with some dried parsley for color. I think it makes it look pretty.

Can Baked Ziti Be Made Ahead of Time and Frozen?

You can make this casserole ahead of time and refrigerate overnight or freeze for later. Since there are only two of us, I will sometimes split the pasta between two foil pans. Bake one now and freeze one for later. To bake the casserole after freezing, thaw completely in the refrigerator and bake as directed below.

You can also freeze the casserole after baking. To reheat, thaw completely and cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350ºF for 30 to 40 minutes, until warm.

baked ziti and salad on a plate

What to Serve with The Ultimate Baked Ziti

This baked ziti has quickly become a favorite at our house. I made this over the holidays and I might like it better than our traditional homemade lasagna. It tastes great and is SUPER easy to make! Serve this with a salad and some garlic bread and you are in for a treat! Here are a few of our favorite recipes from the blog that go great with The ULTIMATE Baked Ziti:

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The ULTIMATE Baked Ziti

Yield: 10 people
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
The ULTIMATE Baked Ziti – copycat Olive Garden Baked Ziti Al Forno. SUPER easy to make and tastes AMAZING! Ziti pasta, Italian sausage, spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, parmesan, panko bread crumbs, garlic, and olive oil. Can make in advance and refrigerate or freeze for later. Hands down the best pasta casserole we've ever eaten! #pasta #casserole #olivegarden #bakedziti #freezermeal

Ingredients:

  • lb ziti pasta
  • 2 lb Italian sausage
  • 2 (24-oz) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (15-oz) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese divided
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese divided
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • tsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook sausage until no longer pink. Drain fat.
  • Add spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ricotta, provolone, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Simmer until cheeses are melted. Stir in cooked pasta and pour into prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  • Combine remaining 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, garlic, and olive oil. Sprinkle over pasta.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Notes:

Can assemble ahead of time and refrigerate overnight before baking.
I used Rao’s Spaghetti Sauce and Alfredo Sauce.
Can freeze unbaked casserole for later. To bake after freezing, thaw completely in the refrigerator and bake as directed above.
Can use turkey sausage in place of Italian sausage.
Can omit sausage for a vegetarian dish.
baked ziti and salad on a plate
collage of 2 photos of baked ziti on a plate
plate of baked ziti and salad
baked ziti on a plate
baked ziti and salad

Steph

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