Sunday, May 19, 2013

Crockpot Lasagna

Day 33

After a long day at work, isn’t it nice to come home to a dinner that has been simmering all day, filling the house with amazing aromas? Crockpot cooking is often the best route for families on the go. With just a little planning ahead, you can put together an outstanding crockpot dinner in minutes, and the slow cooker will do the rest while you are away.

Our family enjoys many meals from the crockpot, for sure, but one of our favorites is a pasta dish I call Crockpot Lasagna.
Copyright,  Doug Kapustin Photography, 2013
It’s not exactly a lasagna, to be truthful, because the pasta used isn’t the lasagna variety. Instead, I use a small pasta—either campanelle or quadrefiore— that is easier to scoop from the slow cooker. The other ingredients are those traditionally in oven-baked lasagna, however. I do recommend a really good store-bought marinara sauce, or if you prefer making your own, that’s even better. Personally, I stand behind the Rao’s sauces; they taste very fresh and are not skimpy on the good ingredients. 

It’s fair to say that nothing beats a perfectly baked lasagna straight from the oven, but sometimes we want similar flavors and textures without all of the time and fuss. If that’s what you’re seeking, this is the dish for your next crockpot meal. 

Crockpot Lasagna

½  lb. bulk Italian sausage
½ lb. ground veal or ground beef
1 large onion, chopped 
1 small green pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tbs. black pepper
2- 24 oz. jars marinara sauce (Rao’s Tomato Basil Marinara is my favorite)
2 tbs. dried basil leaves
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
1 container (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. box pasta


Brown ground sausage, beef, onion, and green pepper. Drain fat. To meat mixture, add garlic, crushed red pepper, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, basil, and marinara sauce. Mix thoroughly. 

Combine ricotta, parmesan, and 2 cups of mozzarella.

In Crock pot, layer meat sauce, uncooked noodles, ricotta mixture, repeating until all ingredients are distributed, and ending with meat sauce. 

Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until noodles are tender. Uncover and add remaining 2 cups of mozzarella. Cover and allow to stand until all cheese is melted (about 10 minutes). 


  1. TOTALLY trying this, but...(RANT WARNING! Save yourselves!)...

    No veal, please. NO VEAL if you believe in God or karma or justice of any kind. (I married a farmer and we raise/sell cattle, but neither one of us would EVER touch traditional veal. Research it for yourself, if you don't believe me!)

    Okay, rant over. Mangia, everybody! (Except for those of you eating veal! God is watching you and is seriously downgrading your Heavenly Mansion.)

    Oh, no! I can't stop this's outta control! Sorry I hijacked your blog, Maggie, to try to save Sweet Baby Cows! (Argh! Somebody stop me!)

  2. Kristy!!! Where do I begin?

    Okay, if it makes you feel better, I'll share that I don't cook with veal either, and--for the record-- I used farm-raised, organic, hormone-free ground beef for my lasagna. I always do. Having grown up on a farm with lots of animals myself, I'm 100% in support of the very humane treatment of animals, of organic and antibiotic/hormone free meat, and of sustainable farming practices.

    For those people who disagree, however, it's fair to say that many Italian chefs prefer cooking with veal because of the flavor and texture differences. And, for those people (whom you have now threatened with the wrath of God), I might suggest that veal is an alternative. They wouldn't dare use it now, though, and YOU can rest easier tonight because of that. Fait accompli, Frau Calf Schäfer.

    Seriously, thank you (and Handsome Farmer Phillip) for loving cows. That's pretty darn awesome. ;-)