Forget boxed or frozen pasta dishes. This dish is tastier, healthier and almost as easy

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Cooking pasta right in the sauce in a slow cooker makes oodles of sense. Not only is it an easy, set-it-and-forget-it cooking method, but it also is a way of infusing the noodles with all the flavors of the sauce. The recipe below includes fresh asparagus, making it an elegant vegetarian side dish.
If you want to make this into a full meal, add bite-sized chunks of boneless, skinless chicken breast to the mix right from the beginning. Or stir in a pound or so of shrimp for the last 15 minutes of cooking. To keep it vegetarian but add a bit of protein, stir in a drained and rinsed can of white beans 5 or 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, just long enough for them to heat through.
Cooktop Cove
Slow cooker linguini with asparagus and pesto
5 minutes
40 minutes
45 minutes
1 (7-ounce) jar pesto
1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces dried linguini pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley
In a slow cooker, combine the pesto, asparagus, water, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir to mix.
Add the pasta and toss to coat.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on high 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Serve hot, garnished with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
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