Baked Ziti Recipe

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Essential Slow Cooker RecipesPasta nights are some of our favorite nights in my house. I love playing around with different shapes and throwing in new cheeses and spices to suit my mood. I used rigatoni pasta for this recipe, but if you’d like to try out a different shape, go for it.

  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
  • Cooking Time: 5 Hours


  • 5 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cups Italian four-cheese mix
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta, uncooked
  • 48 ounces basil-flavored pasta sauce
  • Fresh basil, for garnish
How to Make It
  1. Spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Wash the spinach and basil and shake to dry, leaving some water on the leaves. Place them in a large microwaveable bowl, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, and microwave for 2 minutes. Dry well between paper towels and coarsely chop.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, ½ cup of the Parmesan, ½ cup of the four-cheese mix, the salt, and the chopped spinach and basil.
  4. Place 3 cups of the rigatoni in the bottom of the prepared slow cooker. Top with 2 cups of the pasta sauce and spread the sauce to be sure all the noodles are submerged and coated with the sauce. Top with half the ricotta mixture. Layer on the remaining noodles, 2 cups of the pasta sauce, the remaining ricotta, and finally the remaining pasta sauce. Spread the final layer of pasta sauce evenly to submerge all the pasta.
  5. Place three long pieces of paper towel over the top of the slow cooker and cover with the lid.
  6. Cook on Low for 5 hours or on High for 3 hours. Check to see if the pasta is cooked before turning off the slow cooker; if the pasta is still too firm, cook for 20 minutes more.
  7. Remove the lid of the slow cooker and sprinkle the remaining four-cheese mix over the top, then the remaining Parmesan. Cover and let the pasta stand for 10 minutes more to melt the cheese.
  8. Serve warm, garnished with fresh basil.

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