This Olive Garden Copycat Pasta Is the Ideal Cozy Dinner

Give us all the cheese and pasta, please.

<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Olive Garden diners enjoy that moment when their hot dish is put in front of them, and the server lets them know it can be topped with as much cheese as they want. Just say “when.” It’s not just Parmesan that the restaurant’s diners enjoy, though. They love all the cheese varieties—mozzarella, provolone, Asiago, ricotta, and all the wonderful Italian cheeses that perfectly complement pasta.

With a combination of pasta and what seems like tons of cheese, it’s no wonder that Olive Garden’s Five Cheese Ziti al Forno—a blend of Italian cheeses, pasta, and the restaurant’s signature five-cheese marinara—is one of its most popular dishes.

Copycat recipes of many of Olive Garden’s popular dishes abound. If you want to re-create its Alfredo sauce, famous bottomless salad, Zuppa Toscana, breadsticks, or chicken and shrimp carbonara, clever home cooks have figured out how.

This copycat recipe for Five Cheese Ziti al Forno has been tested by our test kitchen team, who found it to be an excellent “cheater recipe.”

What Does al Forno Mean?

In Italian, “forno” means “oven.” The English translation of “al forno” is "baked in the oven." Any dish baked in the oven is technically “al forno.” We frequently associate it with pasta most likely because of Olive Garden’s dish.

How to Make Five Cheese Ziti al Forno (Olive Garden Copycat Recipe)

For this recipe, you’ll need to gather ziti pasta, a package of shredded Italian cheese blend, jarred marinara sauce, jarred Alfredo sauce, ricotta cheese, Italian-seasoned panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, butter, and garlic.

If you’re wondering how that adds up to five cheeses, the shredded Italian blend usually includes mozzarella, provolone, and Asiago. Depending on the components of your cheese blend, your ziti al forno might have more than five cheeses.

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<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Putting this dish together is simple once you have all your ingredients handy.

  1. Cook ziti to al dente and drain it.

  2. Add marinara, Alfredo, some Italian cheese blend, and ricotta.

  3. Mix together and pour into a prepared casserole dish.

  4. Top with remaining Italian cheese blend.

  5. Mix together panko, Parmesan, melted butter, and garlic, then sprinkle on top.

  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

The hardest part of making this dish is waiting 10 minutes or so once it comes out of the oven to dive in.

What to Serve with Five Cheese Ziti al Forno

Five Cheese Ziti al Forno is hearty and filling, so you don’t need a lot of sides to go along with it. But, if you want to round out the meal, you could go full-on Olive Garden and serve this cheesy pasta with the copycat Olive Garden salad and breadsticks mentioned above. Any garlic bread would be fantastic with the dish. So would a plain loaf of warm Italian bread or a simple leafy green salad.

Whatever you serve with it, this will be a delicious, cozy meal that will make you think you’re out at your favorite Italian restaurant without the expense of dining out. Oh, and your house will smell amazing while the dish is “al forno-ing.” 

Read the original article on All Recipes.