Even with the air conditioning running 24/7, it has been a brutal summer. Brutal enough that I cringe at the thought of turning on the oven, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts. I’ve been missing lasagna. So, I decided to experiment with my crockpot (slow-cooker) today. Here’s what I got.
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp garlic paste (or approx. 2-3 garlic cloves, minced)
- 1/2 C finely chopped carrot
- 1 Tbsp dried rosemary (crushed in a mortar & pestle)
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- 2 pinches black pepper
- 2 tsp celery salt
- 2 C water
- 2 beef flavour packets/cubes
- 2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp A-1 steak sauce
- 2 lbs ground beef (I used extra lean)
- 2 jars of your favourite tomato sauce
- 1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles (NOT cooked)
- 2-4 C cheese (depending on your preference — we like ours really cheesy!) – I used a mixture of mozzarella and asiago
- 1/4 C parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 2-3 tsp garlic powder
- On medium heat, saute the onions, carrots and garlic paste in olive oil and butter in a large pot. (I used a dutch oven.)
- Once the vegetables are softened, add the rosemary, oregano, basil, pepper and celery salt and cook a moment longer, allowing the dried herbs to ‘wake up’ a bit.
- I was cooking up frozen beef, so I added the water, beef flavouring, Worcestershire and A-1 steak sauce first. I brought this to a rapid boil, then added the meat and cooked it with the lid on the pot until the beef was cooked through. Then I used a potato masher to break the meat up. (If you’re dealing with fresh beef, go ahead and add it and brown it, then add the water / beef flavouring, Worcestershire sauce & steak sauce.)
- Pour in both jars of the tomato sauce, reserving 1/4 C of the sauce for the assembly stage. Bring the whole pot to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until everything is warmed through.
- Spray the inside dish of your slow-cooker with non-stick spray.
- Set your slow-cooker to high and pour a few ladle-fuls of meat-sauce mixture onto the bottom of the slow-cooker. Pull out a few of the lasagna noodles and place a layer on the bottom, breaking them up a bit to allow them to fit. You will probably need to overlap the noodles a bit.
- Take some more noodles and break them down so they are the same height as your slow-cooker’s dish height. Layer these along the sides of the dish, creating a noodle “wall” around the edge.
- Layer some of the meat & sauce mixture on the noodles on the bottom, then sprinkle with an equal amount of mozzarella and asiago on top, then repeat with: noodles, meat sauce and cheese until you’re almost to the top of your slow-cooker, ending on noodles. Make sure you have some cheese reserved for the top, but don’t add it yet.
- The mistake I made with this was not putting sauce on the top layer. The noodles did not cook on the top very well, so this is what I would do to fix this: add the reserved sauce (no meat) on top of this last layer of pasta. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese, parmesan, the dried parsley and garlic powder.
- Place the lid on the slow-cooker and cook for 2-2.5 hours. Check it at 2 hours with a knife to test the firmness/softness of the noodles.
- When ready, carefully cut the lasagna into 8 pieces with a long knife, then carefully serve using a large serving spoon.