I’m tired of talking about the weather. And writing about the weather. And loathing the weather. So instead, I’ve been eating…a lot of comfort food. Like this slow cooker lasagna that filled my apartment with happy deliciousness all day long and my stomach all night long and made me temporarily forget about the snow that greeted me from my Costa Rican vacation.
One doesn’t usually pair together crockpot with lasagna. It’s typically baked, not simmered over a long period of time. I was hesitant to make this one and disappoint my at-home critic (Paul is lasagna’s biggest fan), but was feeling adventurous. I immediately headed to Bedford Cheese, my favorite spot on Irving, on a search for quality lasagna noodles, mozzarella, Parmesan, and tomato sauce. I found all of these ingredients (score!) for a pretty penny (worth it!) and set out to prep.
Lasagna is surprisingly simple despite several layers of ingredients. Once the cheese is grated and the tomato sauce is cooked, this recipe requires an easy layering job and some patience while it’s cooking.
- 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 over medium heat, warm the olive oil. 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), 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.
- 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.
- 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.