Slow Cooker Baked Ziti Recipe

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This Slow Cooker Baked Ziti is made completely in the crockpot — even the pasta! It is so much easier than the traditional version but packs all of the same flavor!

This Crock Pot Baked Ziti is obviously NOT baked. Though I suppose if you were really set on it you could stir in an egg and some ricotta (although Serious Eats isn’t upset my recipe’s lack of it), spread it into a baking dish and bake it.

I, however, am not.

Because this Slow Cooker Baked Ziti is all about finding easy, crockpot meals that my family loves, don’t use a whole pile of dishes and are relatively healthy and hearty.

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef (or turkey or Italian sausage)
1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
28 oz can diced tomatoes
650 ml jar pasta sauce about 2 ½ cups
2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
375 gram box Penne or Ziti or other short pasta (about 4 cups)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions
In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion until browned. Stir in garlic and salt and cook 1 minute. (OPTIONAL: you can also add the raw onion and spices right into the slow cooker to save on time)
Add beef mixture, basil, parsley, tomatoes, pasta sauce and water to a 4qt (or larger) slow cooker. Stir.
Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
Turn slow cooker to high. Add pasta and stir until combined. Cover and continue cooking for 15-30 minutes (depending on how hot your slow cooker is) — check and stir at the 15 minute mark.
Sprinkle with cheese and cover for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.

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