Tuesday, October 04, 2011

My favorite pasta...now made (you guessed it) in the crock pot!

As my longtime readers may recall, my favorite pasta dish is cavatini. It's also the dish that often bring to potlucks or to people when they are convalescing or mourning. I wondered if it could be converted to a crockpot recipe. Turns out...it can! I really only made a couple of changes to my boilerplate recipe: to only cook the pasta halfway and then to add a couple of layers of cottage cheese to add extra moisture and because, well, I just like it! It turned out great--all cheesy and gooey and luscious--so much so that I'm not sure why I would ever make it any other way now!

Boil a box of somewhat substantive pasta (I used large shells), and cook it about half as long as the directions say to, just below al dente. Drain, then rinse with cold water until the pasta is cool. Drain again.

Brown a pound of ground beef (or Italian sausage or a half pound of each) with one large, chopped onion, a couple of minced cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Drain excess fat. Stir in a small can of sliced mushrooms (or better yet, sauté some fresh mushrooms as you’re cooking the meat and mushroom mixture). Add a regular-sized jar of your favorite pasta sauce. Stir everything together.

Spray the crock pot with nonstick spray. Add half of the pasta, then half of the meat sauce, then half of a large container (24 oz.) of cottage cheese, a layer of pepperoni slices, and 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella. Repeat these layers in the same order. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the whole crock until you’re reading to cook it. Then it will need a couple of hours to cook on high, or about four hours on low until the pasta is fully cooked.

**If even this crockpot cavatini is too much work for you, I read about an idea that I might try when I'm at my most desperate hour...which is far too often these days. Tee hee. Try dumping a large bag (25 oz?) of frozen ravioli--any kind you like--into the crock pot and stirring in a large jar (32 oz.) of your favorite pasta sauce and one cup of water. Cook on low for four hours, make yourself a salad, and dinner's done! Doesn't that either like shameful cheating or like your salvation on a busy weeknight? Perhaps it's both. ;-)


Anonymous said...

are you sure its cottage cheese and not rocotta cheese

Joy Bugaloo said...

I know it's lowbrow, but I love this with cottage cheese! However, you could certainly use ricotta. You might want to lighten it up a bit with a beaten egg before spreading it on each layer.


Anonymous said...

Is this a 4 quart crock pot that you use for this ?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Mine is five quarts.