Fire up the crock pot for the best baked ziti you will ever have. With no precooking of the pasta, you will love this recipe.
CourseMain Course, Main dish
1poundground beef or Italian sausage
1/8teaspooncrushed red pepperoptional
2cupsdry ziti noodles
Start by place 1 pound of ground beef over medium high heat to brown. Then chop one small onion and crush two cloves of garlic and add while the meat is browning. Cook until no longer pink. About 9-10 minutes.
Combine 1 cup (8oz) ricotta cheese with one egg white, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon dry parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Do not over mix.
Mix 1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 teaspoon basil, one teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix. Now drain the meat of extra fat and combine to make the meat sauce.
Give a small slow cooker a good spray of PAM. I used a 3.5 qt. See Notes about crockpot sizes.
Now you get to layer the dish. Put about 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in first and spread to cover the bottom. Add 1 cup of uncooked ziti noodles or other pasta.
Next, add half the ricotta mixture by placing spoonfuls on the pasta. Add 1/2 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese on top of that.
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.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
This is a cut-down recipe. I 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 six qt.