Five Cheese Ziti al Forno is an Olive Garden copycat recipe combining mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, fontina, and ricotta with tender pasta, flavorful marinara sauce, and creamy Alfredo sauce for a decadent, delicious comfort food dinner!
With rack in center position, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 3-quart (such as a 9- by 13-inch) baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Boil the ziti in well-salted water to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
To Make the Topping:
In a medium bowl, stir together the mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, and olive oil; set aside.
To Make the Sauce:
In a large bowl, stir together the marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce, tomato sauce, mozzarella, fontina, ricotta, and Romano until well-combined, adding crushed red pepper flakes (to taste), if desired.
To Assemble & Finish the Dish:
Combine the sauce and the cooked ziti until evenly coated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Evenly sprinkle with the cheese/ breadcrumb topping mixture.
Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs, if desired, and serve hot.
If you can’t find ziti, another sturdy pasta (ideally penne, or rotini or farfalle) will work as well.
You may use reduced-fat or whole milk ricotta, but keep in mind that whole milk is the creamiest.
Blocks of mozzarella and fontina (both soft cheeses) will be easier to shred if you briefly chill them in the freezer first.
Separate amounts of mozzarella cheese are broken out by various steps in the recipe card. For shopping purposes, however, the total amount of shredded mozzarella required for the entire recipe is 2 cups.
Similarly, the total amount of grated Romano required for the whole recipe is ½ cup.
If you boil your ziti in a large pot, there should be plenty of room to stir the sauce into the drained ziti in the pot (after draining the water and returning the pasta to the pot). Alternatively, if you mix up the sauce ingredients in a very large bowl, there may be room for you to stir your drained ziti directly into the sauce. Either way, combine the two components wherever you have the most room.
If you don’t already have Italian seasoning in your spice cabinet, you can substitute ½ teaspoon dried parsley + ½ teaspoon dried basil + ½ teaspoon dried oregano + ¼ teaspoon dried thyme + ⅛ teaspoon dried rosemary for this recipe instead.
See the body of the post (scroll above this recipe card) for Make-Ahead Instructions and Freezing Instructions.