We’re adding to our Olive Garden Recipes collection by creating a copycat of their popular Stuffed Ziti Fritta. Serve as an appetizer, with alfredo sauce and/or marinara sauce or as a main meal along side a bowl of warm Zuppa Toscana Soup.
What Is Stuffed Ziti Fritta
In short, cheese filled noodles. Cooked ziti pasta is filled with 5 types of cheese, rolled in Italian breading and fried until golden. To make it a true copycat stuffed ziti fritta recipe, make sure to serve it with a side of alfredo sauce and marinara sauce and sprinkle it with chopped parsley.
Outside of the 5 cheeses, the ingredient list to make this Olive Garden Stuffed Ziti Fritta copycat recipe is short and sweet:
- Rigatoni or Ziti
- Cheeses – Ricotta Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese, Cream Cheese, Parmesan Cheese and Romano Cheese
- All-purpose Flour
- Italian Breadcrumbs
- Canola or Vegetable Oil
Stuffed Ziti Fritta Olive Garden
Only 5 steps stand between you and this stuffed ziti fritta recipe.
Make the Pasta – Cook the pasta according to the “al dente” instructions listed on the back of the box of pasta. Cooking the noodles al dente is important because you don’t want cooked rigatoni that fall apart before you’ve have a chance to stuff them. Once cooked, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
Make the Cheese Filling – While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese blend by adding the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, parmesan cheese and ricotta cheese to a large bowl and mixing to combine. You may need to utilize a fork to break up any large chunks. Spoon the cheese into a large Ziploc bag or piping bag. If you utilize a Ziploc bag, just trim a small corner off the bottom to turn it into a makeshift piping bag.
Stuff the Noodles – Gently pipe the cheese mixture into each noodle. You may need to do it from both sides of the noodle if you’re having issues filling them.
Breaded Noodles – Place the flour, beaten eggs and the breadcrumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Carefully roll the stuffed pasta in the flour mixture, followed by the egg mixture (let any excess drip off), then roll in the breadcrumb mixture.
Cook the Stuffed Ziti Fritta – Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the stuffed ziti fritta to the hot oil, 5-6 at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes each, until the cheese starts to slowly ooze out. Let cool before serving with marinara and alfredo sauce.
- Based on trial and error, it’s much easier to use rigatoni pasta instead of the namesake pasta “ziti.” Why? Rigatoni is wider and shorter than ziti, making it easier to stuff.
- An hour or two before you plan on making the recipe, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften.
- Boiled pasta is fragile so plan on having a few break when stuffing.
- Freeze the stuffed pasta for 30 minutes before frying to firm up the cheese. Not as much will leak out when you add this step to the process.
- These would make a great started dish for Penne Pomodoro.
- ½ tsp Salt
- 8 oz Rigatoni or Ziti Pasta (*Note 1)
- 1 tbsp Canola or Vegetable Oil
- ¼ cup Ricotta
- ¼ cup Shredded Parmesan
- ¼ cup Shredded Romano
- ¼ cup Cream Cheese, Softened
- ¼ cup Shredded Mozzarella
- 2 Large Eggs, Beaten
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Italian Flavored Breadcrumbs (*Note 2)
- ½ cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
- Chopped Parsley and Dipping Sauce: Alfredo and Marinara Sauce
COOK THE PASTA:
- Bring a large pot of water and salt to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and cook 2 minutes less than the "al dente" time listed on the box of pasta.
- Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water. Drizzle the olive oil over the pasta and gently toss to coat. Set aside.
MAKE THE FILLING AND FILL THE RIGATONI:
- While the pasta is cooking, add the ricotta cheese, parmesan, romano, cream cheese and mozzarella to a medium size bowl and mixed to combine. Use a fork to break up any large chunks.
- Transfer to a piping bag or a ziplock bag (Make sure to snip the corner to allow the filling to come out). Pipe the cheese mixture into one end of the rigatoni before flipping and filling the other side.
- Transfer the rigatoni to a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes.
BREAD AND COOK THE PASTA:
- Add the oil to a small skillet or dutch oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Place the beaten eggs, flour, and Italian breadcrumbs into 3 different shallow bowls.
- One at a time, roll a stuffed rigatoni into the flour to coat. Shake off the excess flour. Using a fork, dip the flour coated rigatoni into the beaten egg mixture until coated. Let the excess egg drip off before transferring to the bowl with bread crumbs to roll and coat. Transfer the bread coated rigatoni to the baking sheet you used to freeze them and repeat until all the rigatoni are breaded.
- Using a slotted metal spoon, gently add 5-6 pieces of breaded rigatoni into the hot oil. Cook for about 3 minutes, flipping half way through. The ziti should be golden brown.
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and repeat until all rigatonis are cooked.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with alfredo and marinara sauce.