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Stuffed Ziti Fritta Recipe

If you want to go beyond unlimited breadsticks and other boring appetizers, visit the Olive Garden restaurant for its delicious Italian appetizers, especially the crispy and cheesy Stuffed Ziti Fritta.

No one would say that cooked rigatoni pasta stuffed with a delicious cheese mixture and fried to golden brown could taste that good. But it does. Dip them in alfredo sauce and homemade marinara, and you’ll feel taken out of this world.

The best thing? We’ve prepared a simple Stuffed Ziti Fritta recipe for you, so you can make a restaurant-quality dish at home in just a few minutes.

How to Make Stuffed Ziti Fritta

A perfect cheesy appetizer, Stuffed Ziti Fritta is ideal to make a huge batch. It is also one of the quickest and easiest ways to kick off an Italian home-night.

Do you want to know why?

Because it’s basically just pasta and cheese, coming together in a gooey and crispy snack, in a complete Olive Garden experience.

Not to build any more suspense, here’s what you need for a perfect Stuffed Ziti Fritta recipe.

Ingredients:

(6 servings)

For pasta:

  • ½ lb rigatoni (or ziti)
  • water
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp oil

For the filling:

  • ¼ cup ricotta
  • ¼ cup softened cream cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

For frying:

  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • oil for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs

Instructions:

The first bite of this crispy but gooey Ziti Fritta makes you think it requires a professional chef to be able to replicate it at home, which is not true. Stuffed Ziti Fritta is super easy to make.

The main thing is to find the right kind of short pasta. Ziti and rigatoni both work since while you want the pasta to be short, it should also have a large opening. You can’t fill macaroni, right?

Additionally, the other important thing when cooking pasta is to make it al dente, so it doesn’t fall apart once you fry it.

Once the pasta is cooked, all you’ve got left to do is to pipe in the cheese mixture and roll the pasta tubes in egg and breadcrumbs. Fry and serve these cheesy goodies.

Easy-peasy. Let’s walk through this, step-by-step.

Step 1:

Cook your pasta al dente, which is usually just 2 minutes less than the recommended time. Drain, add olive oil, and stir to coat. Note: it’s also important to rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking.

Pro tip: rigatoni will be much easier to stuff than ziti. You can thank us later.

Step 2:

Make the cheesy filling for the pasta tubes. Add mozzarella, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan, and Romano cheese into a large bowl and stir to combine. You might need to use a fork to break up the large chunks.

Spoon the mixture into a zip-lock bag, seal it, and make a small cut in a corner.

Step 3:

Pipe the cheese mixture into one side of each pasta tube. Then flip and pipe the other side.

Place the filled rigatoni pasta on a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Pro tip: if you can, prepare the cheese mixture ahead of time. It will make it softer and easier to pipe.

Step 4:

Prepare 2 breading trays—one with two beaten eggs and the other with the breadcrumbs plus some parmesan cheese and optional Italian seasoning.

Coat the stuffed pasta with flour and dip in the eggs. Then roll the rigatoni in the breadcrumbs.

Step 5:

Preheat the oil to 350 °F and fry 5-6 pieces of breaded rigatoni using the slotted spoon. Fry for about 3 minutes until the cheese starts to ooze out slowly.

Line a plate with paper towels and place the cooked rigatoni there for soaking in the oil.

Sprinkle the Stuffed Ziti Fritta with some parmesan or chopped parsley, and serve with Alfredo sauce or homemade marinara sauce.

Ingredient Substitution

By now you must already be convinced that there is nothing too complex about the Stuffed Ziti Fritta after all. It requires simple ingredients and is super easy to cook.

However, you may be wondering what you could substitute in the Stuffed Ziti Fritta recipe. We will let you in on the answer.

Mascarpone

Mascarpone is a variety of Italian cheese, made from heavy cream and citric acid. It is the best substitute for cream cheese, although it is high in fat.

Still, mascarpone will give you a richer and more velvety texture, which works perfectly for our Stuffed Ziti Fritta filling. And even though it is slightly sweet, this won’t be noticeable with the rich flavors of all the other cheeses.

Just use the same amount of mascarpone as the cream cheese.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a perfect substitute for ricotta since it has the same lumpy and curdy texture, the same milky and sweet flavor, and the same soft, moist, and light consistency. So, you’ll never notice a difference. Cottage cheese is even lower in calories and contains less fat.

Potato chips

If you’ve got some potato chips in the pantry, throw them in the food processor and you’ll get fine crumbs that work as a great substitute for breadcrumbs. The best thing is that they’ve already got fat and seasoning.

However, note that they are saltier than breadcrumbs and have some extra grease.

What to Serve with Stuffed Ziti Fritta

Stuffed Ziti Fritta is a perfect Italian-style appetizer that works both for a snack or as the main dish. All you need is to pair it with some flavorful sauces, and you’ll be good to go.

For an ultimate experience consider these pairing options.

Cheese dip

Is there such a thing as too much cheese? Never. That’s why you just have to try the crispy and crunchy Stuffed Ziti Fritta with the famous cheese dip dipping sauce.

It is a perfect mixture of milky and buttery with the spicy jalapeno juice, which makes it an essential companion for the Stuffed Ziti Fritta. The cheese dip also features American cheese, white cheddar, and Monterey jack cheese, which will take you straight to cheesy heaven.

Chicken salad

Stuffed Ziti Fritta could leave you feeling quite filled, with all the cheesy and savory flavors. So, you’ll need something soothing and creamier to contrast with the fried pasta. Chicken salad it is.

No matter what your idea of a perfect chicken salad is, this one has it all. It is made with bacon, grilled chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, and celery. And the mayonnaise and cream dressing is worth all the effort.

Simple ingredients, but complex flavors, make it a perfect pairing for the Stuffed Ziti Fritta.

How to Reheat Stuffed Ziti Fritta

The inside of the Stuffed Ziti Fritta matters as much as the outside. So reheating is a tough call, especially if you want it to taste fresh as day one.

Check out the best ways to reheat Stuffed Ziti Fritta.

Reheat Stuffed Ziti Fritta in a Microwave

Once you remove the Stuffed Ziti Fritta from the fridge, let it warm up to room temperature for about 10 minutes. Microwaving may not be the best option here, since it tends to dry out or make the dishes soggy, like in the case of our stuffed pasta.

In any case, just cover the Ziti Fritta with a paper towel to keep it from becoming soggy, and microwave in 30 seconds intervals until heated properly.

Reheat Stuffed Ziti Fritta in an Air Fryer

Place the Stuffed Ziti Fritta in the air fryer and reheat the dish for about 3-4 minutes at 350-400 °F. Be careful not to overcrowd the air fryer. This is a good option for reheating leftover Stuffed Ziti Fritta if you want them to taste as crispy as the night before.

Reheat Stuffed Ziti Fritta in an Oven

If you’ve kept the Stuffed Ziti Fritta in the freezer, the oven is the best option for reheating it. Just let the frozen Stuffed Ziti Fritta sit in the fridge for about 24 hours before reheating. Then, preheat the oven to 350 °F, transfer the meal to a baking sheet, and loosely cover it with foil. Bake for 10 minutes to get a gooey and crunchy Ziti Fritta.

How to Store Stuffed Ziti Fritta

When stored properly, Stuffed Ziti Fritta can stay fresh for some time. However, due to the cooked pasta and cheesy filling, it’s best to consume it as soon as possible.

Store Stuffed Ziti Fritta in a Fridge

Before storing the Stuffed Ziti Fritta in the fridge, allow it to completely cool to room temperature. Then, place a paper towel on the bottom of an airtight container to absorb the moisture, and store your Stuffed Ziti Fritta.

It can be stored like that for about 3-5 days.

Store Stuffed Ziti Fritta in a Freezer

Freezing Stuffed Zitti Fritta is an option but only if you store it uncooked for frying later. This is a good way to prepare for a busy evening ahead of time. Use an airtight bag or container to store Ziti Fritta in a freezer.

stuffed ziti fritta

Stuffed Ziti Fritta Recipe

Cooked pasta stuffed with a cheesy mixture of 5 different kinds of cheese—that’s this utterly delicious Stuffed Ziti Fritta recipe. Super easy to make and super fast to finish. Check this recipe for useful tips for a restaurant-level Italian appetizer!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 428 kcal
Equipment
  • bowl
  • zip lock bag
  • Breading tray
Ingredients
  
For pasta:
  • ½ lb rigatoni (or ziti)
  • water
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
For the filling:
  • ¼ cup ricotta
  • ¼ cup softened cream cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
For frying:
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • oil for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Instructions
 
  • Cook your pasta al dente, which is usually just 2 minutes less than the recommended time. Drain, add olive oil, and stir to coat. Note: it’s also important to rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking. Pro tip: rigatoni will be much easier to stuff than ziti.
  • Make the cheesy filling for the pasta tubes. Add mozzarella, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan, and Romano cheese into a large bowl and stir to combine. You might need to use a fork to break up the large chunks. Spoon the mixture into a zip-lock bag, seal it, and make a small cut in a corner.
  • Pipe the cheese mixture into one size of each pasta tube. Then flip and pipe the other side. Place the filled rigatoni pasta on a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes. Pro tip: if you can, prepare the cheese mixture ahead of time. It will make it softer and easier to pipe.
  • Prepare 2 breading trays—one with two beaten eggs and the other with the breadcrumbs plus some parmesan cheese and optional Italian seasoning. Coat the stuffed pasta with flour and dip in the eggs. Then roll the rigatoni in the breadcrumbs.
  • Preheat the oil to 350 °F and fry 5-6 pieces of breaded rigatoni using the slotted spoon. Fry for about 3 minutes until the cheese starts to ooze out slowly. Line a plate with paper towels and place the cooked rigatoni there for soaking the oil. Sprinkle the Stuffed Ziti Fritta with some parmesan or chopped parsley, and serve with Alfredo sauce or homemade marinara sauce.
Nutrition
Calories: 428kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 17gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 369mgPotassium: 200mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 344IUCalcium: 201mgIron: 2mg

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