Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crock Pot Lasagna: My Way

After spending the last two winters in the Middle East I am very happy to be back into winter crockpot cooking mode.  Having all the necessary staples in my cupboard and freezer I decided to tackle crockpot lasagna.  I figured out the general technique by internet research and then assembled according to my previous lasagna experience.  This is American style lasagna with a tomato base sauce (not Italian style made with bechamel sauce). It turned out fabulous.  It made enough to feed two of us for dinner and then a work crew of two for lunch the following two days.  As usual, the leftovers were every bit as good as, maybe even better than, the original.  Buon appetito!

Crock Pot Lasagna

  • 1 lb sausage (or lean ground beef seasoned librerally with garlic)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • assorted dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, whatever you like)
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta (you can also use cottage cheese if you don't have ricotta)
  • 2 cups shredded mozarella (reserving 1/2 cup for top)
  • Fresh parsley, if you have it
  • uncooked lasagna noodles or dry pasta sheets
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • Olive oil for coating inside of crock
  • A tastey red wine.  I'm partial to a Chianti or Cabernet for this meal.
If it's after noon, pour yourself a glass of red wine.  Take a sip.  This helps with your seasoning tasting and generally puts you in an Italian mood.  If you are throwing this together before leaving for work I recommend skipping the wine at this stage.  You can make up for that later.  After work.  After work you might need it more!

Brown sausage (or ground beef) with chopped onion until meat is cooked through and onions are soft.  Drain the grease off.  Add crushed tomatoes and Italian herbs, seasoning to taste.  Take another sip of the wine and taste again.  You'll know when you have it right.  Remove from heat. 

In a separate bowl, combine ricotta (or cottage cheese) with one-and-a-half cups grated mozarella (you've set 1/2 cup aside for later).  If you have fresh parsley, throw in a few tablespoons chopped.

Spray bottom and half way up side of crock pot with olive oil (if you don't have a Misto Olive Oil sprayer get yourself one.  You deserve it.)

Spread 1/3 of meat mixture in bottom of crock.  Layer with 1/3 cheese mixture on top (the cheese mixture isn't easy to spread.  I suggest, with clean heands, pinch out some and flatten with hands and lay on top of the meat.  Break lasagna noodles to fit over the top.  Try to get a single layer though it's fine to overlap the edges a bit.  I have pasta sheets that I use that lay flatter than the strip noodles but either would work fine.  Repeat these three layers two more times, ending with a pasta layer.  Scatter the 1/2 cup mozzarella and paremsan (or Romano) over the top. 

Now you can turn the crock pot onto low setting.  Cook a minimum of four hours.  Longer is fine.  The house will smell delicious which is one of the best things about crock pot cooking, in my humble opinion.  Serve with hearty bread, a green salad and that red wine.

Let me know how it turned out.

OK, so I wasn't thinking about posting this or I would have taken a better picture.  And more pictures during assembly.  If you make this send me some pictures.  Thanks.

1 comment:

Maite said...

This seems like such a good recipe. I am going to give it a try!