Looks messy, but tastes delicious!
I am a big fan of comfort food and nothing says comfort to me like hot, delicious pasta and cheesy garlic bread. For the sauce, the first few times I made this, I couldn’t find the Fontina Cheese. It tastes good with or without the Fontina, so if you have trouble finding it, it isn’t a big deal. I looked for this recipe for a long time, because this was my favorite dish from The Olive Garden. The family loved it and go back for seconds every time I make this dish. I usually double up the amount of noodles, so I can have enough for a few days. For this batch, I made the pan above and the round pan in the picture below. I usually have enough for 2 big pans, so we share with family.
FOR THE ZITI SAUCE
4 cups tomato sauce
2 cups alfredo sauce
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons Fontina cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
FOR THE ZITI TOPPING
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons romano cheese, grated
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons parsley
1 lb dry ziti pasta
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
PREPARE THE ZITI SAUCE:.
- Combining all ingredients for the Ziti Sauce 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 oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or large casserole with non-stick spray.
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
- Pour 1/2 cup of 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.
- 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.