2016 is the year I fell back in love with my slow cooker, apparently. This was waaaay better than I thought it would be. Next time I’d add at least another layer of pasta, because this was on the saucy side. But it was delicously, deliciously saucy. It feeds a crowd and makes pretty great leftovers, so next time I’m doing family dinner and don’t want to be in the kitchen forever, I’m making this. I kind of want to make it again right now…who’s around for dinner?
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
2 jars (each 24 oz.) tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 lb. whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
18 ruffle-edged lasagna noodles (not no-boil noodles)
1 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
Thinly sliced fresh basil for garnish
In the stovetop-safe insert of slow cooker (or, in my case, just a regular frying pan) warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any large chunks with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and water and bring to a simmer.
Transfer the sauce to a large bowl.
In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the slow-cooker insert. Cover the sauce with a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (about 3-4), breaking the noodles as needed to fit. Spread about 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.
Top with about 2 cups of the sauce, then sprinkle with about 1 cup of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat the layering 4 more times, starting with the noodles. **Note to myself, I will squeeze at least one more layer of noodles in there next time.
Top the whole concoction with “a nice amount of mozzarella.” That’s a Spicy Southern Kitchen recipe note that I could not approve of more.
Transfer the insert to the slow-cooker base, cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the noodles are tender and cooked through, about 4 hours.
Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to broil. **I actually didn’t do the broiler step because Adam was pacing the floor ready to devour this, the house smelled so good.
Transfer the slow-cooker insert to the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil and serve immediately. Serves 12.