Last night I made a fantastic crock pot meal that I simply have to pass on. Credit goes to RealSimple magazine, May edition. But I made a few simple changes. Here’s why I loved it:
- You can make it with your eyes closed….almost…well it really is easy peasy lemon squeezy.
- It is healthy.
- It is vegetarian – but a hearty main dish. However, if you are married to a wholehearted meatatarian, he will most likely suggest a side of meatballs as mine did. Not because the recipe needs it – because his DMA (the meat gene) needs it.
- Crockpots act like food fairies who cook for you. I am in love with mine.
Here it is: Baked Spinach and Mushroom Rigatoni.
Hands on time 15 min (if you’re slow)/Total time: 4 hours 15 min/Serves 6 – per the magazine. They didn’t actually say ‘if you’re slow.’ And it’s ok to be slow.
- 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (I used crushed)
- 2 Tlb olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves (more…)
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1/2 pound rigatoni
- 1 red onion sliced
- 1 pound mixed mushrooms trimmed and sliced (I used baby Portobello, hoping to satisfy the meatatarian’s need for at least meat-like texture). The magazine suggests cremini, button, and shiitake.
- 2 10 oz packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid. (FRESH is best! I used 2-3 handfuls per layer. Plus, who in the world likes squeezing spinach?)
- 1 15 oz container ricotta
- 8 oz mozzarella, grated.
- My addition: red pepper flakes and italian seasoning for the top.
MIx tomatoes with garlic and olive oil. Pour 1/3rd of it in the bottom of the crock pot.
Then layer in this order: 1/2 the pasta, 1/2 the onion, mushrooms, spinach. Another 1/3rd of tomatoes. 1/2 Ricotta (plop on in spoonfuls, and spread a bit if you want to) and 1/2 the mozzarella. Repeat. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and italian seasoning. Cover and cook on HIGH for 31/2 to 4 hours.
Tell your people…”come and get it.”
ps: Their instructions:
Break up the tomatoes and their juices in a medium bowl with your hands or a potato masher. Add the oil, garlic, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. In a separate medium bowl, combine the uncooked rigatoni, onion, and mushrooms.
Spread a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a 4-6 quart slow cooker. Top with half the pasta mixture, half the spinach, a third of the tomato mixture, half the ricotta, and half the mozzarella; repeat. Cover and cook on high until the pasta is tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Serve with parmesan.