Monday, May 14, 2012

Slow Cooker Baked Penne

Slow Cooker Baked Pasta
This Slow Cooker Baked Penne has all of the flavor of a lasagna without all of the fuss.  The penne used in the recipe doesn’t even need to be cooked when it’s loaded into the pot.  Beyond this being a super easy dish, it’s also been lightened up with low fat ricotta and mozzarella in the recipe.  With the extra calories you save you can grab a piece of garlic bread.  You can easily add any number of veggies or browned ground beef to this basic recipe to make it more your own.  Although the texture of the pasta in this version turned out a little mushier than the regular oven baked variety, for a deliciously simple meal that uses only a few ingredients this slow cooker recipe can’t be beat.  

Slow Cooker Baked Pasta
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours

Ingredients list

  • 1 lb gluten free penne pasta
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta
  • ½ cup pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz low fat mozzarella, grated
  • 1 cup gluten free chicken or beef stock

Video Tutorial: 


  1.  Stir together the ricotta, pecorino romano cheese, egg, garlic powder, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Spray the ceramic insert of your crock-pot with nonstick spray.
  3. Add 1/3 of the pasta with 1/3 of the sauce and stir to get them combined.
  4. Dollop 1/2 the ricotta mixture in an even layer and sprinkle on 1/3 of the mozzarella.  top. 
  5. Repeat by layering in 1/3 of the pasta, then 1/3 of the sauce, the remaining half of the ricotta mixture and 1/3 of the mozzarella. 
  6. For the final layer, add the remaining third of the pasta, with the remaining sauce and mozzarella sprinkled on top. 
  7. Pour the chicken or beef stock over the top aiming mainly towards the edges then cover and cook on high for ½ hr then low for 2 - 3 hours or until the pasta looks cooked.  Mine was fully done in 3 hours.  Turn off the slow cooker and let it stand for at least a half an hour to set, then served with additional sauce and grated cheese. 

Notes:  The recipe for the garlic bread recipe pictured here is covered in the video.  

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