Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I wanted to do a pasta recipe, but wanted something other than the usual ziti or lasagna. Then I remembered a pizza casserole I did a few years ago and thought, why not try it in a crock pot? So, here it is. I'm really pleased with how it turned out! It's delicious and hearty and it feeds a crowd. Hope you like it!
1 lb. rigatoni (uncooked)
2 26 oz jars tomato sauce (or your own marinara sauce)
1 tbs. dried oregano
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage, (removed from casing)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 green pepper, roughly chopped
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain excess fat. Remove from pan and set aside. Do the same thing with the sausage, making sure to break it up into small pieces. Meanwhile, mix the sauce, uncooked pasta, and oregano in a large bowl until the pasta is well coated. Spray the inside of a large crock pot with cooking spray.
Now make layers using half of each ingredient and then repeat using the other half. Layer in this order: Pasta, beef, sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheese. Place slices of pepperoni on the top and sprinkle with a little more oregano. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
I've heard from a few people that cooking this on low for 5 hours was too long, and the result was burnt pasta. I'm sorry for that! I guess the best thing to do is to check on it after a few hours (if you can) the first time you make it, and be sure to use plenty of sauce.
I only add pepperoni to the top layer because it makes the entire casserole a little too spicy for me if I include it on both layers. If you're all about spicy, then go for it! Add as much as you like!
Be generous with the sauce because the uncooked pasta really absorbs a lot. If you want, you could even add a little extra layer of sauce between the meat and the vegetables.
Feel free to change the ingredients to include whichever pizza toppings you like.
You can make this a low carb dish by omitting the pasta completely and by choosing tomato sauce that has less sugar added.