There’s certainly no shortage of comfort food meals that we can make in our slow cooker. The slow cooker comes out probably once a week or more, on average, and we absolutely can’t survive without it. What we love is how the slow cooker allows us to achieve the near impossible when it comes to meal prep: a homecooked meal made with fresh ingredients that will take less than 30 minutes of effort to put dinner on the table. Our chicken parmesan pasta made in the slow cooker checks all of these boxes.
To give the chicken parm that homecooked taste, we don’t just rely on a jar of marinara. Instead, we make our own red sauce for the slow cooker. Not only does this allow us to control the ingredients, but the sauce gets the benefit of a longer cooking time, which means we get to enjoy the benefits of all that wonderful flavor you’d expect from a scratch-made pasta sauce. So, some diced onion, spices, and a couple cans of crushed tomatoes are all we need to make a truly delicious sauce for our chicken parmesan pasta.
The chicken cooks in this wonderful tomato sauce and after two hours we remove the chicken breasts, shred the meat and put it back into the slow cooker. Now we can add our cooked pasta and give that a good stir until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce. Next, we top the pasta with shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan. We put the lid back on and let cook until the cheese is nice and gooey-melty. We give this another stir to really spread that cheesiness around and our meal is ready to serve.
Whatever we don’t finish we pack away for leftovers – chicken parmesan pasta will be an extra yummy lunch the next day! But for now, as we hungrily sit down for a homecooked meal, a warm bowl of rich and flavorful chicken parmesan pasta is a low key and comforting way to end a busy day. We love that the slow cooker has once again given us a wonderful, time-effective, super satisfying meal.
Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Pasta
20 minutes active, 2+ hours inactive to prepare serves 4-6
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 (16 oz.) package penne pasta
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
- Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker.
- In a separate bowl, stir together crushed tomatoes, diced onion, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, then pour into slow cooker and stir until chicken is fully coated.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Remove and shred chicken, then return to slow cooker, along with cooked pasta.
- Stir everything together, then top with cheeses.
- Cover slow cooker and cook for another 10-20 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
- Top with parsley and serve hot.
Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious.