Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

finished zitti

Baked ziti is an Italian-American staple. I love that it’s so comforting, yet full of fresh, herby flavors. I decided to make things a little easier on myself and use the slow cooker instead of the oven. The best part is I didn’t have to boil the noodles first – they cook perfectly in the marinara sauce!

To brighten up this dish I add fresh basil from our herb garden, rosemary, and lemon juice to the ricotta. And with so much cheesy goodness I decided to leave ours vegetarian, but you could easily add a variety of different meats.

I love the slow cooker because after a long day I can come home to a tasty meal!!

 

INGREDIENTS

Ricotta Mix:

  • 2 eggs
  • 15oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp rosemary
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Other:

  • 1lb Penne pasta
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 3 cups parmesan cheese

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make the Ricotta Mix by beating the two eggs, adding all of the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup basil, 1/2 tbsp rosemary, 1 tbsp lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.

basil.jpg

 

ricotta mix.jpg

2. Grease the inside of slow cooker with nonstick spray or butter.

3. Add about 2 cups of pasta sauce in the bottom of slow cooker. Layer ⅓ of penne noodles on top of sauce, followed by ½ of ricotta mixture, and ⅓ of Italian cheese blend, then repeat all steps so there are 2 layers of all ingredients.

layering

4. Top with remaining penne and sauce, and cook on high for 3-4 hours, until noodles are al dente.

5. Top with remaining cheese and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted through.

6. Serve hot and enjoy!

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