This is one of the best Olive Garden copycat recipes out there – Olive Garden giant sausage stuffed rigatoni recipe. It’s an easy copycat restaurant recipe that is perfect baked recipe for dinner.
Why I Love Sausage Stuffed Rigatoni
Olive Garden is one of our favorite restaurants – whenever Jack gets to pick, it’s his number one choice.
I’ve come to really enjoy making copycat versions of their recipes, especially when it’s a limited time only item (such as their chicken alfredo spaghetti pie. They need to bring that back!).
A few months ago, I went to lunch with my mom and some friends, and I decided to get the stuffed sausage rigatoni. It was SO good.
Then, Forrest went there for dinner with my dad and brother after a church meeting, and they all got that same item.
And, they all loved it!
So I’ve been really wanting to make a copycat version for awhile now, and I finally got around to it.
I have to be up front though – I actually did not use rigatoni. Apparently, there is no such thing as giant rigatoni at the store, and I didn’t really have the tools to make it. So I used manicotti, because it was similar in size.
But, I still think this recipe tasted just about the same as the kind I had at Olive Garden! However, I felt I should at least mention that 🙂
I will say, it’s hard to make a copycat from Olive Garden! The descriptions of their meals don’t share much about the ingredients, and I can’t find very much information anywhere. I based this recipe off of my own experience, looking at the dish online, and looking at the allergen page. Haha!
It is really delicious – saucy, flavorful, and cheesy! It reminds me a little bit of my mom’s meat lasagna without ricotta cheese, but it definitely had some new dimensions to it that made it its own.
What is Rigatoni
Rigatoni is a type of pasta that falls into the tubular, short pasta category. This recipe obviously uses oversized Rigatoni pasta, but they are traditionally smaller. They are fairly wide, and there are ridges on the side (which is great for helping pasta sauces cling to the pasta). Dried rigatoni is easily found at most supermarkets in the pasta aisle.
Rigatoni is great for thicker pasta sauces because they retain their shape quite well.
TIPS for Stuffed Rigatoni
I made the official Olive Garden meat sauce recipe for this, however, I decided not to use ground beef. I also used grape juice instead of red wine, and I think it tasted exactly like what you would get at Olive Garden.
In that sauce, you are supposed to use chopped up onion, carrot, and celery. I hate chopping vegetables, so I was pretty excited to see that Forrest had bought a package of frozen and pre-chopped carrots, onions and celery at the store. Try and find this if you don’t like chopping, like me!
Don’t pre-cook the pasta. It’s MUCH easier to fill it when it’s not cooked. All you have to do is make sure there is enough sauce on top of the pasta while it cooks, and it should get cooked all the way through.
As I already said, I used manicotti. You can use any large, tube-shaped pasta (obviously, if you can find rigatoni that is large enough, go for that. But I don’t think there was much of a difference using the Manicotti.
You may know by now that I love doing copycat recipes – make sure you check out all my best ones that have been featured on AllFreeCopyCatRecipes!
What Sauce goes well with a Rigatoni
As mentioned above, thicker sauces – like ragu, seafood sauces, or even a heavier alfredo go really well with rigatoni. However, I’ve used it with thinner sauces, such as pesto, with great success as well.
What to serve with Olive Garden Giant Sausage Stuffed Rigatoni
There are so many great side dishes that you can serve this stuffed rigatoni with. Our family always loves breads of any kind (especially breadsticks and garlic toast). It is a very rich dish, so a light side salad with a vinaigrette or Italian dressing. Green beans would make for a great side dish as well.
Storing and reheating
This recipe makes for great leftovers. To store the leftovers, you should place them in a storage container that has an airtight lid and stored in the refrigerator. They should be eaten within about three days.
You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave – usually 2-3 minutes at 50% power is a good way to go. If there are a lot, you could store them in the baking dish and then reheat in the oven at 300 for about 30 minutes.
- Olive Garden Bolognese, I did not use any meat, and I used grape juice instead of red wine.
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1.5 lb Italian sausage
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1.5 boxes Manicotti or other LARGE tube-shaped pasta *uncooked*
- 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Start making the bolognese sauce about an hour before you want to put the pasta in the oven.
- Cook and crumble sausage into small pieces. Drain. Add bread crumbs.
- Whisk together eggs and milk. Remove sausage from heat and mix with mixture and parmesan cheese.
- Put a thin layer of the bolognese on the bottom of a large glass baking dish.
- Stuff each piece of tube pasta with the sausage mixture and place in baking dish.
- Cover with bolognese and then cover with mozzarella cheese. Make sure the manicotti is completely covered in sauce (add additional water if needed).
- Cover with tin foil.
- Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, remove tin foil, and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
See notes above recipe for best success
Olive Garden Copy Cat Recipes
If you are a big fan of Olive Garden, here are all our copycat recipes from them:
- Olive Garden Five Cheese Marinara
- Olive Garden Loaded Pasta Chips Recipe: Copycat Recipe
- Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Pie
- Pressure Cooker Bolognese Sauce: Olive Garden Copycat
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.