Olive Garden Neapolitan Ziti

Olive Garden Neapolitan Ziti is just the dinner you may be looking for. This is made with pasta and a few ingredients that you can find readily in your refrigerator. Best of all this meal takes just minutes to prepare. You can be a little flexible with what you have in your pantry.

Copycat Olive Garden Neapolitan ziti on plates.

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What Makes the Olive Garden Neapolitan Ziti So Good?

Neapolitan Ziti was pretty popular at Olive Garden when in the day, but many locations seem to have dropped it from their menus. That’s a shame considering this hearty Italian archetype pasta dish is so darn delicious.

The rich tomato sauce comes loaded with chunks of Italian sausage and untried peppers that pairs wonderfully with the thicker ziti pasta. If your local Olive Garden no longer has Neapolitan Ziti on the menu, now you can melt it yourself. 

Why You Should Try This Recipe 

This pasta dish may not be as easy as just opening a jar of pasta sauce, but it is much tastier and worth your time to make. Although this version of the recipe uses sausage and peppers instead of the increasingly traditional onions and lardon, like in Italy, it is a spot-on copycat version of the dish the uniting used to serve. 

Olive Garden Ziti Ingredients

To make ziti pasta Olive Garden style sauce, you’ll need:

  • Italian sausage
  • Green tintinnabulate pepper
  • Garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • San Marzano, or flipside variety of plum tomatoes, canned
  • Tomato puree
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Marinara sauce

Feel self-ruling to use hot or sweet Italian sausages, depending on your preference. 

San Marzano tomatoes get their name from the region of Italy where they grow. This variety of plum tomatoes is well-loved for their sweetness and slight venom that counterbalances any excessive richness in a dish. Use them if you can, but Redpack (sometimes sold as Red Gold) whole plum tomatoes are wontedly misogynist and an spanking-new substitute. 

Use your favorite jarred sauce, or try making marinara sauce from scratch

To serve Olive Garden, you’ll need:

  • Ziti pasta.cooked equal to the directions on the package
  • Italian parsley
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded

You can use shredded Romano cheese instead of Parmesan.

Copycat Olive Garden Neapolitan Ziti ingredients.

To make the sauce:

  1. Fully melt the Italian sausage. The simplest and most hands-off way is sultry the sausages on a wire rack over a sultry tray at 350°F for 20 minutes. But you can use any method you prefer. You will have plenty of time to start cooking the sauce while the sausages are heating up.
  2. Split sausages in half then cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Chop the untried pepper into small pieces and mince the garlic. Set both to the side.
  4. Crush the tomatoes with your hands and reserve them for later. 
  5. Place a skillet over medium heat and warm two tablespoons of olive oil. 
  6. When the olive oil is hot, Saute the chopped untried pepper and minced garlic until the untried peppers are just starting to wilt tender.
Collage of cooking sausage and peppers for Olive Garden Neapolitan ziti.
  1. Place a large heavy sauce pan over medium heat and warm the remaining olive oil. 
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, minced garlic, and coarsely ripped fresh basil to the saucepan.
  3. Bring the sauce to a nonflexible simmer over moderate heat, stir well, and reduce the heat to low. 
  4. When the sausages are cooked, cut them the long way and then slice them into half-inch pieces. Stir the sliced sausage into the sauce. 
  5. Let the sauce slowly simmer for flipside five minutes. 
Collage of making sauce for Olive Garden Neapolitan ziti.

To plate Olive Garden Ziti With Sausage and Peppers:

  1. Finely chop the Italian parsley. 
  2. Portion the cooked ziti onto serving plates and spoon the sauce over the top.
  3. Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley.
Overhead view of copycat Olive Garden Neapolitan ziti pasta.

What to Serve With Neapolitan Ziti

This dish is hearty unbearable to serve on its own, but a few sides turn it into a increasingly well-turned meal. A simple salad with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a splash of Italian dressing is the perfect way to sneak in increasingly veggies. Or make one of the Olive Garden soup recipes like minestrone.

Garlic twists or breadsticks are unconfined to have on hand for mopping up any uneaten sauce!

How to Store the Leftovers 

Refrigerate any uneaten un-sauced cooked ziti in an snapped container for up to three days. Keep the pasta sauce in a separate container in the fridge for no increasingly than three days, or freeze for up to two months. 

What’s the Weightier Way to Reheat Ziti?

The weightier way to warm up leftover Olive Garden Neapolitan Ziti is on the stove, although it will take well-nigh 20 minutes:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, heat the sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. If you are reheating frozen sauce, add some humid water to the sauce to help melt it. 
  3. Place the cooked ziti in a pasta insert or colander and plunge it into the humid water for 30 seconds to warm up. 

 If you want to can reheat the pasta and sauce, try the microwave:

  1. Put the cooked ziti into a shallow bowl.
  2. Add sauce and stir to combine.
  3. Cover the trencher with a paper towel and heat it on HIGH for one and a half minutes. Stir the pasta and sauce and heat for flipside 30 seconds or until hot. 
Overhead view of copycat Olive Garden Neapolitan ziti on three plates.

Favorite Olive Garden Copycat Recipes

Check out increasingly of my easy pasta recipes and the weightier copycat Olive Garden recipes on CopyKat!

Copycat Olive Garden Neapolitan ziti on plates.
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Olive Garden Neapolitan Ziti

Olive Garden Neapolitan Ziti is a dish that everyone will love.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Olive Garden Neapolitan Ziti
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 646kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped untried tintinnabulate pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil divided use
  • 28 ounces canned Italian-style or plum tomatoes
  • 10 3/4 ounces tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound ziti pasta prepared equal to the package directions
  • 5 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


  • Bake or pan-fry the sausages until fully cooked; phlebotomize and cool. Halve the sausages lengthwise and cut them into 1/2-inch slices.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the tintinnabulate peppers in 2 tablespoons olive oil until they are no longer crisp, but not yet soft.
  • In a heavy saucepan, combine the tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and fresh basil and bring to a light simmer over medium heat. Add the sautéed peppers and cooked sausage and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Serve the pasta topped with the sausage, peppers, and marinara sauce and garnish each plate with parsley and Parmesan.


Calories: 646kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 1619mg | Potassium: 1328mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1350IU | Vitamin C: 47.3mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 5.3mg