Crock Pot Baked Ziti

Crockpot Baked Ziti from 101 Cooking For TwoI love this recipe. This one takes just a bit more work than my normal slow cooker recipe but it is so worth it. You can have great Italian at home. This is near the top for reipe of the year.

Baked Ziti is basically some kind of tomato sauce usually with meat in my house but you could skip the meat if you must. Add in some kind of cheese and pasta and you have a classic Italian dish. There are variations but that is basically it.

As I read the crock pot recipes I realized they were not that different than the oven recipes except may used uncooked pasta (probably a good idea or you might have mush) and usually had a bit more liquid… help cook the pasta.  So I though I would model what I felt was the best and that was a Pioneer Woman recipe for Bake Ziti .  It was a bit more lasagna like with ricotta and parmesan cheese in addition to my normal mozzarella. I will never go back.

Rating

RS-5Outrageously good.

Notes:
This is a cut down recipe… used my 3.5 qt crock pot and this is “Cooking For Two” after all. This filled the pot about 75% and that is really the most you should go so do not do in a smaller pot. This would be great to double and would fit in a 6.5 qt but would be marginal in a 6 qt.

Also I used Penne noodles which are “almost” ziti noodles. Close enough…

Crockpot Baked Ziti-ziti ingredientsCrockpot Baked Ziti-Ziti meatStart by place 1 pound of ground beef over medium high heat to brown. Then chop 1 small onion and crush 2 cloves of garlic and add while the meat is browning.  Cook until no longer pink. About 9-10 minutes.

Crockpot Baked Ziti-Mixing RicottaCombine 1 cup (8oz) ricotta cheese with one egg white, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 t dry parsley, 1/2 t salt. Do not over mix.

Crockpot Baked Ziti-mixing meat sauceMix 1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 t basil, 1 t salt, 1/2 t pepper. Mix. Now drain the meat of extra fat and combine to make the meat sauce. You can add 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper if you wish. It will not add much heat.

Crockpot Baked Ziti-PAMMINGGive the slow cooker a good spray of PAM. Here I’m using a 3.5 qt. See Notes about crockpot sizes.

Crockpot Baked Ziti-first layerNow you get to layer the dish. Put about 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in first and spread to cover bottom. Add 1 cup of uncooked ziti noodles or other pasta.

Crockpot Baked Ziti-Adding cheeseNow add half the ricotta mixture by placing spoonfuls on the pasta. Add 1/2 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese on top of that.

Crockpot Baked Ziti-FinishingNow time to repeat. Add 1 1/2 cup meat sauce. Add 1 cup ziti noodles. Add the rest of the ricotta and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Top with the rest of the sauce and 1 cup of mozzarella.

Crockpot Baked Ziti-finishedCook on low for 4-5 hours.

Crock Pot “Baked” Ziti

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Crock Pot “Baked” Ziti

I love this recipe. This one takes just a bit more work than my normal slow cooker recipe but it is so worth it. You can have great Italian at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 cup (8 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp dry parsley
  • 1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 t basil
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups (8 oz) of dry ziti noodles
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Start by place 1 pound of ground beef over medium high heat to brown. Then chop 1 small onion and crush 2 cloves of garlic and add while the meat is browning. Cook until no longer pink. About 9-10 minutes.
  2. Combine 1 cup (8oz) ricotta cheese with one egg white, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 t dry parsley, 1/2 t salt. Do not over mix.
  3. Mix 1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 t basil, 1 t salt, 1/2 t pepper. Mix. Now drain the meat of extra fat and combine to make the meat sauce.
  4. Give the slow cooker a good spray of PAM. Here I’m using a 3.5 qt. See Notes about crockpot sizes.
  5. Now you get to layer the dish. Put about 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in first and spread to cover bottom. Add 1 cup of uncooked ziti noodles or other pasta.
  6. Next add half the ricotta mixture by placing spoonfuls on the pasta. Add 1/2 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese on top of that.
  7. Now time to repeat. Add 1 1/2 cup meat sauce. Add 1 cup ziti noodles. Add the rest of the ricotta and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Top with the remainder of the sauce and 1 cup of mozzarella.
  8. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Notes

This is a cut down recipe… used my 3.5 qt crockpot and this is “Cooking For Two” after all. This filled the pot about 75% and that is really the most you should go so do not do in a smaller pot. This would be great to double and would fit in a 6.5 qt but would be marginal in a 6 qt.

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Updated
December 5 2013

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Comments

  1. Leslie A. says

    I am so glad I finally found a recipe site geared for two. I plan on making this for my husbands birthday. Can I make this with gluten free pasta?

    • says

      No clue on the gluten free pasta. I have not had great luck with recipes that use uncooked pasta that is not standard pasta. Give it a try but I would do a test cooking or have a backup plan. I’m afraid it would turn to mush.
      Good Luck with it…
      DrDan

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