Friday, July 4, 2008

Olive Garden's Five-Cheese Ziti Al Forno

We celebrated Father's day at the Olive Garden with my parents and I had their baked ziti. It was so good that I had to find a recipe so I could make it at home. I think the next time I make this I won't use quite the whole box of pasta because it wasn't as saucy as the Olive Garden's. But it was still pretty tasty!

Ziti Sauce:

4 cups tomato sauce
2 cups Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 Tbsp fontina cheese, shredded*
1 tsp garlic pepper (I just used pepper)
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Ziti Topping:

3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp Romano cheese, grated*
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp fresh parsley (I used dried)

Remaining Ingredients:

1 pound ziti pasta
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Prepare the ziti sauce: Combine all ingredients for the sauce together in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the ziti topping: In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients for the ziti topping. Add the garlic, oil, and parsley and mix until thoroughly blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to prepare the whole dish: Preheat overn to 375 degrees. Spray a 13X9 baking idsh with non stick spray. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Pour 1/2 cup of the prepared ziti sauce into the prepared dish, and spread it evenly over the bottom using a spoon. When pasta has finished cooking, drain the water and pour the hot pasta into the bowl of remaining sauce. Mix thoroughly; pour into the baking dish.
Spread 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over the pasta and sauce mixture. (I left this part out - I felt like there was already a lot of cheese)

Top the mozzarella with the prepared ziti topping, spreading evenly.
Place pan on center oven rack and bake until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove and serve immediately.

* I did not buy the fontina and romano cheese. I just used extra parmesan and it still worked. I guess mine is only 3 cheese ziti.

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