"Baked" Pasta

It's true: You don't have to boil the noodles separately. They soften right in the slow cooker.

Rinse the dried pasta first and let a little water stick to it to help the noodles soften.

Total Time:
Level: Easy


  • 1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ c. grated Pecorino cheese
  • ½ tsp. coarse salt
  • pepper
  • 8 oz. whole wheat penne
  • vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 c. store-bought low-sodium marinara sauce
  • 1 ½ c. canned crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 c. packed baby spinach
  • ¼ c. basil leaves, torn


  1. Mix the cheeses. Season with the salt, plus pepper to taste. Rinse pasta with cold water in a colander. Spray the inside of a medium slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Mix marinara with tomatoes. Pour half of sauce mixture into slow cooker in an even layer. Top with half of pasta, then all of spinach and half of cheese mixture, spreading evenly.
  3. Repeat with remaining sauce, pasta, and cheese. Pour in ½ cup water. Cover, and cook on high until pasta is tender, 1 hr 45 min to 2 hrs. Garnish with basil.

432 cal, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 22 g protein, 60 g carb, 12 g sugar, 8 g fiber, 585 mg sodium, 35 mg cholesterol per serving

This story originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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