Add to your slow-cooker: Onion, garlic, basil, spinach, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and half & half. Stir, mashing up the canned tomatoes with your spoon.
Break up the sausage with your fingers and add to the cooker.
Add the pasta, mozzarella, then top with the water and mix. You want the water to come just to the top of the pasta. Any pieces of pasta not covered by water will come out hard, so make sure you have enough water in there.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper. I typically add about 3-4 teaspoons of salt to the whole batch, keeping in mind you're trying to season both the sauce and the pasta.
If you love eggplant, Vanessa's got a great slow-cooker recipe for you. A few minutes of prep work then a few hours in the slow cooker will result in a delicious, cheesy pasta dish.
Watch the video above, and click here for a printable PDF version of the recipe. You can always find more at www.FoodSheLikes.com.
Small eggplant, thinly-sliced
1 lb. pasta (I used corkscrews)
½ cup finely-diced yellow onion
4 cloves finely-minced garlic
¼ cup chopped basil
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
28 oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)
6 oz. tomato paste
3 cups water
1 lb. Italian sausage
2 cups shredded mozzarella
¼ cup half & half
2 tbs. sugar
1 cup grated Parmesan
Salt & pepper, to taste
Start to layer the eggplant slices on top. Season each layer with salt and pepper and top with Parmesan, repeating the process until you've used all the eggplant.
Cover and set the cook on LOW. Cook for 3-4 hours.
**Some notes: If you're leaving your slow-cooker unattended, and think you'll back long after the suggested cooking time is up, consider leaving out the pasta and substituting the water with 2 (8 oz.) cans of tomato sauce. Before you're ready to serve, cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box. Serve the pasta topped with the cooked sauce and some slices of eggplant on top. This will be less like the original "pasta bake" recipe, and requires an additional pot, but you will avoid overcooking the pasta and making it mushy.
Servings: Approx. 8