If you love baked pasta, then this dish is for you. If you love the food that comes out of your slow cooker, this dish is for you. If you need to run errands for a couple of hours, this dish is for you.
I rarely use my slow cooker, despite my love for slow cooked meals. I am home, I work from home, I am always here so I don’t need a meal to cook for 6-8 hours, but from time to time I do just that. When I know that I will have a pretty tight schedule, I prepare everything and allow my slow cooker to do its thing while I am out and about. It’s perfect for delicious roasts, shredded meat/poultry, and of course meals like I am sharing today. I noticed that so many people depend on slow cooker so I wanted to share a couple that I love here with you.
You can keep this meatless if you wish, or add some smoked sausage to the sauce, or whatever, but it reminded me of baked pasta. God, I love baked pasta. Well, I love any pasta for that matter. I can’t resist it! So without me yapping all day about it, here is my slow cooker meat pasta. By the way, this was eaten in one sitting. It was that good.
SLOW COOKER MEAT PASTA
- 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1/4 Onion chopped
- 3 Garlic cloves chopped
- 1/2 lb. Italian Sausage without casting
- 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
- 1 teaspoon dried Parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried Basil
- 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
- Salt and ground Black Pepper to taste I couple of pinches until you reach the taste that you want
- 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 1 can Fire Roasted tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup Marinara Sauce
- 3 cups Pasta uncooked (I used Penne, but elbow macaroni or similar could be used)
- 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
- 2 cups Shredded Cheese I used Cheddar, Parmesan and Mozzarella Blend
- 1 1/2 cups Water
- Add oil in a skillet/pan and saute chopped onion for a minute or so on a medium high temperature.
- Add garlic and stir to infuse oil with garlic, then add Italian sausage and ground beef.
- Add spices and seasoning, and stir. Break the meat while stirring. Meat needs to be completely cooked. You do not need to add too much salt because the tomato paste and marinara sauce are already seasoned well.
- Add tomato paste, fire roasted tomatoes, and marinara sauce. Stir very well. When it starts to bubble, turn the heat off and cover the skillet.
- Turn the slow cooker on and start layering as you would layer lasagna.
- First add a ladle of the sauce, then add a couple of tablespoons of ricotta cheese, following with 1 1/2 cups of uncooked pasta.
- The second layer, on top of the uncooked pasta, adds 1 more ladle of the sauce, ricotta cheese, and shredded cheese.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of uncooked pasta on top, then pour over the rest of the sauce.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups of cold water and add ricotta cheese. At this point, try to spread a cheese and work with a fork in between the pasta to slightly combine it all.
- Top it all with remaining shredded cheese. Cover and cook on high for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the pasta is cooked You may cook it on slow for up to 3 hours or until the pasta is cooked.
You may prepare everything and store in the fridge overnight until you are ready to cook. You can cook pasta prior and the dish will be done in 20 to 30 minutes. When it's done just keep it on warm to perfect until ready to be served. No, pasta was NOT mushy or overcooked. I had a feeling that this question would come sooner or later so I am answering it now. You can see on my pics that the pasta is not falling apart.