Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

         Can you imagine making a comfort food meal in a slow cooker that even allows you to cook the pasta right in there also? I have truly found a slice of the good life here. Cooking pasta in the slow cooker was a major life changing time for me. It took me a while to learn how to do it just right. I did learn a few things from the experience, I will share it with you.

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            Using smaller pasta is the best for this Baked Ziti dish. When you use the small pasta it is less likely to stick together during the cooking process. Turn your heat on high, and push the pasta down into the sauce.

If any pasta is sticking out of the sauce, it will remain dry.  Do not over cook the pasta. It will take you longer to cook it in a slow cooker, but it is not going to take more than 20 to 25 minutes.

AND before I go any further, I did not use Ziti in this dish. My ziti is penne. No questions please!

Frequently Asked Questions:

            Do I have to use Ziti?

I can not find any Ziti in our area. I have looked in every store possible. So penne it is, for me. You are welcome to try penne too.

            Can I change the meat?

You can swap out the ground beef for an Italian sausage if you would like.

            I like it creamy, can I do that with this recipe?

This is easily done. Instead of using all broth, reduce the broth by ½ cup and use ½ cup heavy cream.

            What vegetables should I serve?

You can feel free to add any peppers, like green or red. Use shredded carrots or spinach in the dish.

What do you need to make Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

            1 pound ground beef cooked thoroughly

            2 jars Italian pasta sauce

            1-16 ounce box of penne

            15 ounce Ricotta cheese

            15 ounces tomato paste

            2 eggs

            ⅓ cup basil

`           2 cups parmesan, freshly shredded

            1 cup mozzarella, freshly shredded

How to make Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

FIRST STEP:

In a mixing bowl, combine the Ricotta cheese, the beaten eggs and the basil

Mix well

In another bowl, combine the tomato sauce with the two jars of Pasta sauce

a)

b)

SECOND STEP:

Grease the inside of the slow cooker

Add 2 ⅓ cups sauce into the cooker

THIRD STEP:

Add about ⅓ f the uncooked pasta

Drop spoonfuls of Ricotta cheese on the top and spread as evenly as possible

a)

b)

FOURTH STEP:

Sprinkle one cup of Grated Parmesan on top of the Ricotta

Layer the ground beef on top

Add the remaining sauce on top of the meat

FIFTH STEP:

Add 2 ⅓ cup of sauce

Layer the uncooked pasta next

Another layer of spoonfuls of Ricotta and spread evenly

SIXTH STEP:

Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on the ricotta

Put the last of the pasta on top of the Parmesan

Pour the remaining amount of sauce on the top

SEVENTH STEP:

Cover the slow cooker and cook on the high setting for 2 to 3 hours, until the penne is al dente

During the last few minutes of the cooking time, sprinkle the mozzarella on the top and allow to melt

Serve with crispy Garlic bread sticks

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef cooked thoroughly
  • 2 jars Italian pasta sauce
  • 1-16 ounce box of penne
  • 15 ounce Ricotta cheese
  • 15 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup basil
  • 2 cups parmesan, freshly shredded
  • 1 cup mozzarella, freshly shredded

Instructions

FIRST STEP:

In a mixing bowl, combine the Ricotta cheese, the beaten eggs and the basil. Mix well

In another bowl, combine the tomato sauce with the two jars of Pasta sauce

SECOND STEP:

Grease the inside of the slow cooker

Add 2 ⅓ cups sauce into the cooker

THIRD STEP:

Add about ⅓ f the uncooked pasta

Drop spoonfuls of Ricotta cheese on the top and spread as evenly as possible

FOURTH STEP:

Sprinkle one cup of Grated Parmesan on top of the Ricotta

Layer the ground beef on top

Add the remaining sauce on top of the meat

FIFTH STEP:

Add 2 ⅓ cup of sauce

Layer the uncooked pasta next

Another layer of spoonfuls of Ricotta and spread evenly

SIXTH STEP:

Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on the ricotta

Put the last of the pasta on top of the Parmesan

Pour the remaining amount of sauce on the top

SEVENTH STEP:

Cover the slow cooker and cook on the high setting for 2 to 3 hours, until the penne is al dente

During the last few minutes of the cooking time, sprinkle the mozzarella on the top and allow to melt

Serve with crispy Garlic bread sticks

Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 10gCholesterol: 240mgSodium: 40mgCarbohydrates: 180gSugar: 40gProtein: 10g