Ground beef is simmered away with your favorite store bought marinara sauce along with some additional seasonings and then add in pasta that has been cooked just until al dente along with some mozzarella and cream cheese and let it cook just a little bit more for an amazing Crock-Pot Baked Spaghetti recipe everyone in the family will adore!
Slow Cooker Baked Spaghetti
Spaghetti is a favorite in my house. Well, a favorite of mine! I have odd ball kids that spaghetti is not their favorite, chicken nuggets are their favorite. What is a mom to do?
My good friend asked a good question the other day “can I cook spaghetti in the slow cooker?“And my answer was “hmmmm. I don’t know“.
So I decided to try and figure out a way to cook the noodles without making them mushy. I wanted to try and see if I could cook the noodles in the sauce and how long that would take.
My first attempt was seeing if I could cook the noodles in the sauce in the slow cooker. I put a jar of sauce in the slow cooker and then put in my spaghetti noodles, set the slow cooker to low and let it cook. And cook. And cook. After 8 hours, I tried the noodles and some where cooked (the ones that were in the sauce) and some were not. Some seemed too cooked and well this was a bust. I had to toss it.
Trial and error folks…trial and error!
Rethinking this process, I decided to cook my sauce in the slow cooker and then add in some noodles that were cooked, but not all the way (al dente).
In cooking, al dente describes pasta and vegetables, rice, or beans that are cooked to be firm to the bite. The etymology is Italian “to the tooth”. In contemporary Italian cooking, the term identifies the ideal consistency for pasta and involves a brief cooking time. Molto al dente is the culinary term for slightly under-cooked pasta. Under-cooking pasta is used in the first round of cooking when a pasta dish is going to be cooked twice. The culinary term “al forno” is used for pasta dishes that are cooked twice. Pasta that is cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than pasta that is cooked soft. When cooking commercial pasta, the al dente phase occurs right after the white of the pasta center disappears.Wikipedia
I added my sauce in the slow cooker (along with some ground beef and spices), let it get hot and then added in my noodles. If you want to add in some chopped veggies, now would be the time to do this. Chopped green peppers, onions or mushrooms would be great in this dish. On top of the noodles (friend suggested this, different then the first friend), I added in small chunks of cream cheese. and let that cook. I gave it a quick stir and added in some mozzarella cheese (melted cheese is always good on spaghetti).
A couple hours total and after cooking some garlic cheese bread, I had dinner.
And it was delicious…seriously!
One final note: you can keep the baked spaghetti in the slow cooker after it is done cooking, turn the temperature down to WARM. The noodles will keep cooking. And if you leave it in there for over an hour on WARM, your noodles will start to get mushy. I would suggest taking the baked spaghetti out of the crock-pot and serving from a serving dish.
No one likes mushy noodles!
Crock-Pot Baked Spaghetti Recipe
- 32 Ounces Jarred Marinara Sauce (Store Bought Or Homemade)
- 1 Pound Extra Lean Ground Beef (Cooked, Crumbled And Drained)
- 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
- ½ Teaspoon Dried Parsley
- ½ Teaspoon Dried Basil
- ½ Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
- 16 Ounces Spaghetti Noodles (Cooked On The Stove-Top According To The Package Directions Until Al Dente)
- 4 Ounces Cream Cheese (Cubed)
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Add spaghetti sauce, spices and cooked hamburger to a 5 or larger slow cooker, stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 2 hours.
- Add in al dente cooked spaghetti noodles and stir well to coat all the noodles evenly with the sauce.
- Place cream cheese cubes on top of the spaghetti noodles and sauce and cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on LOW.
- Stir well to evenly distribute the melted cream cheese throughout the pasta.
- Add the mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta and cover and cook another 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Serve and enjoy! Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and some fresh chopped parsley if desired.