Slow Cooker Marinara and Mozzarella Lasagne

Thursday November 24, 2016

marinara

You will love this recipe. Two staples on the pantry shelf, dried pasta and a jar of marinara sauce, some cheese in the refrigerator and you can assemble this lasagna in about 5 minutes.

The 1 1/2-quart cooker makes a lovely dinner for two moderate eaters with leftovers for another small meal or freezing. In 3 1/2 hours you are serving perfect lasagna, right down to the rippled top layer and a dash of golden brown around the edges. The key ingredient is the no-boiling-required lasagna noodles, which are flat rectangles (no ruffled edges); I use Barilla brand, which is a premium dried pasta available nationally. While many cooks have used regular dried pasta without boiling first when making this casserole for the oven by adding a bit more water, no-cook noodles need no extra water or forethought as to how to handle them. All you do is break up the sheets so they fit in your cooker and layer the ingredients. The moisture from the sauce in the moist slow cooker environment is plenty to cook the lasagna noodles perfect every time. Gone are the days of precooking and handling slippery hot noodles. A 9-ounce box makes three small lasagne for me. You can add a few additional layers if you want a deeper lasagna or make this in a 3 quart cooker and feed 4 generously.

I use whole milk mozzarella, but you can use any cheese or combination of melting cheeses you like. Vary the type of sauce, taking advantage of the wealth of delicious sauces available (Classico Cabernet Marinara is a favorite).

layering the pasta sheets to fit in the slow cooker

Overview

Recommended Size: 1 1/2 to 3 quart slow cooker

Machine Setting: High

Cook Time: 3 1/2 to 4 hours

Serves 2 with leftovers

Ingredients

  • 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara tomato sauce of choice or 3 cups homemade marinara
  • 5 to 6 sheets no-cook oven-ready lasagna noodles (if you are making in the 3-quart, you will need 3 more noodles)
  • 8-ounces (1/2-pound) mozzarella cheese, sliced or cubed
  • 1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese

Instructions

1. Spray the crock with a nonstick vegetable spray, olive oil spray, or wipe with an olive oil soaked paper towel.

2. Using a large spoon, place 2 tablespoons of sauce over the bottom. Break one pasta sheet into pieces and cover the bottom with pieces; it doesn’t matter what shape or size the pieces are, just break to fit. A 1 1/2 quart oval will use about 1 sheet per layer, and a 3 quart 1 1/2 sheets per layer. Cover with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sauce and a layer of cheese.

3. Make 5 to 6 layers total, with the top layer a bit more marinara sauce and the Parmesan cheese.  I usually use about three-fourths of the jar of sauce; you can use more if you like a real saucy casserole. The lasagna will fill two-thirds to three-quarters full in the crock; it will collapse as it cooks.

4.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Test for tenderness by piercing the lasagna with the tip of a sharp knife at 3 to 3 1/2 hours. The lasagna will be fine on KEEP WARM for an additional 2 hours, if necessary. Serve by cutting pieces with a plastic or wooden spatula.

Additions and Variations

This lasagne can have 2 to 3 added layers of vegetables, like cooked or fresh spinach leaves, roasted red peppers, leftover roasted mixed vegetables, frozen thawed or jarred water-packed artichoke hearts, or sautéed mushrooms. The total cook time will increase by 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the addition and their temperature.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2008, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.


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