How to make slow cooker baked ziti (video)

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At first, baked ziti might look like a simple noodle dish that's been tossed with sauce, topped with cheese and baked in the oven. But the flavors go so far beyond that, with a rich cheese sauce running through all of that totally tubular pasta, tossed with herbs and onions that complement it all perfectly.
When making it in the oven, that "simple" dish can require a lot to pull it off, too. Typically the pasta needs to be cooked, the cheese sauce needs to be made, and then it all needs to be layered into a casserole dish. With this slow cooker version, however, everything comes together at the start, and then you get to walk away while all the ingredients cook and get to know each other. Just come back at dinnertime, for one of the best baked zitis you've ever eaten!
Cooktop Cove 
Slow cooker baked ziti
20 minutes
3 hours, 15 minutes
3 hours, 35 minutes
8 ounces uncooked ziti (penne can also be used)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup water
1 cup finely diced onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/3 cup freshly chopped basil
1 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese
Add pasta into a 6-quart slow cooker with cornstarch. Mix well so that each piece of pasta is lightly coated with cornstarch.
Add spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Stir to combine, ensuring tomato paste is fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, combine the onion, garlic, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and eggs.
Evenly spread ricotta mixture on top of pasta.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
Uncover slow cooker and sprinkle Asiago cheese and fresh basil over the top. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes, until Asiago is melted.
Pro tip: To make this dish even heartier, brown some ground beef or sausage beforehand and add it as a layer!
Note: All slow cookers are a little bit different in temperature and calibration. This recipe was tested in Cooktop Cove's Test Kitchen using this slow cooker, which is available for purchase here.
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The more traditionally assembled dish also uses cottage cheese instead of the more familiar ricotta, but feel free to use whichever you prefer.
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