Are you looking for a hearty and delicious meal that’s easy to prepare? Look no further than crockpot baked ziti! This classic Italian dish is a favorite among families and can be made with just a few simple ingredients.
By using a crockpot, you can let the ziti cook low and slow, allowing the flavors to meld together and creating a comforting and satisfying meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps to make crockpot baked ziti, including tips and tricks for making it the best it can be. So grab your crockpot and get ready to enjoy a delicious and effortless meal!
- 1 pound ziti pasta
- 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
- 1 jar (24 ounces) of your favorite marinara sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1 ) Cook the ziti pasta according to package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside.
2 ) In a large skillet, cook the ground beef or Italian sausage over medium-high heat until it’s browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat.
3 ) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked ground beef or Italian sausage, marinara sauce, water, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4 ) Add the cooked ziti pasta to the bowl and stir everything together until the pasta is coated in the sauce and cheese mixture.
5 ) Grease the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray or butter to prevent sticking. Pour the pasta mixture into the crockpot and spread it out evenly.
6 ) Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta mixture.
7 ) Cover the crockpot with the lid and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
8 ) Once the cooking time is up, turn off the crockpot and let it cool for a few minutes. If desired, sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top for garnish.
9 ) Serve the crockpot baked ziti hot, straight from the crockpot. Enjoy!
Here are some tips and tricks to make your crockpot-baked ziti even better:
TIP #1: Use a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup. These disposable liners can be placed in the crockpot before adding the ingredients, and they prevent food from sticking to the sides and bottom of the pot.
TIP #2: Brown the meat before adding it to the crockpot. This will add more flavor and help to create a better texture in the final dish.
TIP #3: Don’t overcook the pasta. Remember to cook the pasta just until it’s al dente, as it will continue to cook in the crockpot. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and ruin the texture of the dish.
TIP #4: Add extra spices or herbs for more flavor. If you like your baked ziti with more flavor, try adding a teaspoon of garlic powder, dried oregano, or red pepper flakes to the sauce.
TIP #5: Use different types of cheese. While mozzarella cheese is traditional for baked ziti, you can experiment with other types of cheese like provolone or fontina to add a different flavor profile.
TIP #6: Let the dish rest before serving. After the cooking time is up, turn off the crockpot and let the baked ziti rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and make it easier to cut and serve.
By following these tips and tricks, you can create a delicious and satisfying crockpot baked ziti that your family and friends will love!
Crockpot baked ziti is a delicious and easy meal that’s perfect for feeding a crowd or meal prepping for the week. Follow these simple steps to make a mouth-watering dish that’s sure to become a family favorite!