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Crock Pot Pasta Casserole

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian Inspired
Keyword crock-pot-pasta-casserole, pasta-casserole-recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Stand time 5 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 410kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb mild or spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 slices pepperoni
  • 2 24 oz jars basil, garlic, oregano marinara sauce OR your favorite
  • 2 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 2 ½ cups pasta with ridges (about ⅔ of a 16 oz box) i.e. rigatoni, penne etc.
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided use
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese divided use, plus additional for serving
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 8 oz ricotta cheese optional
  • 2 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

  • Spray the crock of a 6 quart or similar size slow cooker with cooking spray, or line with a crockpot liner.
  • In a skillet, brown sausage and onion in olive oil over medium high heat. Cook just until the sausage has browned it doesn't have to be cooked through. Break sausage into bite size chunks. Drain fat, then arrange on bottom of slow cooker. Cover with pepperoni slices.
  • To the slow cooker add marinara sauce, broth, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and 3 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Mix the seasonings into the sauce trying not to disturb the sausage. Lock lid in place, simmer on low for 4-6 hours. (Or on high for 2-3 hours)
  • To finish: Cook pasta per directions on box in salted water until al dente. Uncover crock pot and add pasta, 1 cup shredded cheese and ricotta, if using.
  • Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes then top with reserved 1 cup shredded cheese. Let stand with lid offset just until cheese melts.
  • Garnish with reserved 1 tablespoon Parmesan and fresh parsley and serve.
  • Please note: At the end of cooking you can thin the sauce by adding additional beef stock or pasta cooking water. Likewise, you can thicken it using tomato paste.

Notes

This can also be prepared in the oven:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13  x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain well, add to a mixing bowl. 
  • Cook Italian sausage with onion in olive oil per the recipe, until no pink remains. Drain fat.
  • To the pasta add sausage, marinara sauce, garlic salt, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. (Omit beef broth for oven version) Add optional 8 ounce ricotta, if using.
  • Pour over pasta and sausage mixing until well coated. Pour half into baking dish. 
  • Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Arrange pepperoni slices over cheese, then top with remaining pasta.
  • Sprinkle top with reserved 1 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan. 
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly. 
  • Garnish with parsley and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 1480mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 344IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 1mg