Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno

Five Cheese Ziti al Forno is the ultimate in creamy, cheesy, home-cooked goodness! Skip takeout and make this copycat dish in your own kitchen.

Perfectly cooked noodles and a blend of five different cheeses are layered with a delicious homemade sauce.

Then, crispy panko breadcrumbs top the entire thing so every bite is an explosion of texture and flavor.

If you love this Olive Garden ziti dish, try some of my other copycat recipes! I have a delicious shrimp Alfredo as well as the retired Chicken Vino Blanco.

Or, try this easy lasagna or chicken parmesan pasta for more comfort food meals that feed a crowd.

Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno with a fork

How To Make Five Cheese Ziti al Forno

While this recipe does require a bit of prep, it comes together quickly and easily once everything is ready to go!

Prepare the pink sauce, which is simply a blend of marinara and alfredo. Once that is about done, boil the pasta and drain.

Combine the pasta and sauce together, then layer it in your baking dish with handfuls of the five cheese blend. Then, top with breadcrumbs and bake!

Serve this Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti al Forno on its own or with salad and breadsticks on the side.

olive garden five cheese ziti al forno ingredients

Tips and Tricks
  • Salt your pasta water! This simple step really makes a big difference in the flavor. The general rule is that the water should “taste like the ocean.”
  • Reduce the acidity. If you are particularly sensitive to tomatoes, choose the San Marzano variety for your sauce. It’s known to be far less acidic and is usually a bit sweeter too.
  • Cheese selection: I used a blend of ricotta, parmesan, fontina, provolone, and mozzarella for this recipe. Feel free to adjust the amounts to suit your tastes or swap in your favorite alternatives. Either way, you will need a generous 2 cups of shreds total.
  • Short on time? Combine your favorite marinara and alfredo sauces for this Olive Garden ziti recipe. Then, all you need to do is assemble and bake!
olive garden ziti sauce in a pan

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
olive garden five cheese ziti al forno in a skillet

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?

Warm individual servings on the stove with a splash of milk or cream for moisture. Or, bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed through.

Leftovers should keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days if stored in an airtight container.

Can I freeze Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti al Forno?

Absolutely! If you used a cast iron skillet for baking, be sure to transfer leftovers to a storage container first.

Otherwise, you can wrap the whole casserole dish in a layer of plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.


five cheese zito al forno being served

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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olive garden five cheese ziti al forno

Yield: 8
Author: Donna Elick
Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno (Olive Garden)

Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno (Olive Garden)

Five Cheese Ziti al Forno is the ultimate in creamy, cheesy, home-cooked goodness! Skip takeout and make this copycat dish in your own kitchen
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 50 MinTotal time: 55 Min


  • 3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated provolone
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup whole ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley (for garnish)


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook diced onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes longer until the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir to combine and bring sauce to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, covered, for 30 minutes.
  3. During the last 10 minutes of the sauce simmering, boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. Cooked until just al dente (about 10 minutes), it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain pasta.
  4. Toss together the Fontina, Parmesan, provolone, and mozzarella cheese until mixed.
  5. Remove the bay leaves from sauce.
  6. Add ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of the four cheese mixture, and the heavy cream to the sauce. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring until the cheeses are melted and ingredients are combined.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  8. Add the sauce to the drained pasta and stir to coat. Spread half of the pasta into a 12-inch oven-safe skillet or casserole dish. Sprinkle another ½ cup of cheese over the pasta and then the remaining pasta.
  9. Mix together 1/2 cup of panko crumbs, the remaining 1 cup of cheese mixture, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta.
  10. Cover and bake for about 20 minutes or until topping is melted and lightly browned.
  11. Garnish with chopped Italian flat leaf parsley.

Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno closeup

Originally published October 2021

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1 comment:

  1. If I were to use marinara and alfredo sauce, I would just eliminate steps 1 and 2, correct?


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