Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

I swear this is the last post about what I cooked or baked at the beach.

On Italian night at the beach we invited over Jim’s parents, aunt, uncles, sister and cousin — the entire “Elder Hostel.” Between the two houses, I think there were 16 of us. Jim made chicken cacciatore, Patty made manicotti and I made  lasagna in a crock pot. Yes, a crock pot. I couldn’t help myself. I saw the recipe and had to try it. It wasn’t pretty, but it tasted like lasagna, or rather a baked pasta, since there isn’t any ricotta cheese in this recipe.

I found the recipe on The Cutting Edge of Ordinary blog. Like Lisa says over there, the pepperoni wasn’t at all over-powering, but instead added a really good flavor. It wasn’t mushy either. Mine would have been even better if I hadn’t overcooked it and ended up with some hard noodles on the top and around the edges. I just smooshed them down into the pasta and covered the darkened top with some additional Parmesan cheese. Who’s to know!

I never know whether it’s “lasagne” or “lasagna.” When I was the general manager of an Italian restaurant we always used the Italian “lasagne” on our menu. I always thought the dish is “lasagne” and the pasta itself  is “lasagna.” But who knows, I might be wrong about that, and besides, we’re in the US, so lasagna it is!

Crock Pot Lasagna

  • 1 package wide-width egg noodles, cooked very al dente and drained
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (or beef)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 large jar spaghetti sauce (2 lbs, 13 oz)
  • 3.5 oz sliced pepperoni, pre-cooked and chopped (about half of an 8 oz package)
  • 1 tsp each – dried basil, oregano and thyme
  • 1 – 16oz package shredded mozzarella
  • 1 – 8oz package shredded cheddar

Start your water boiling and cook the pasta to a serious al dente. Drain and set aside. (Confession – I completely overlooked the fact that I needed to cook the pasta first and missed this step so used uncooked pasta. Did it matter? Looking back, maybe the pasta was a bit too firm, but it did cook some in the sauce.)

Precook the pepperoni in a single layer on (and covered by) paper towels in the microwave for about 30 seconds, maybe more. Don’t overcook it. Do this in two batches. Chop.

In a large skillet cook the ground turkey until cooked through. Drain and set aside. Add onions (with olive oil if necessary) to the pan and saute until softened. Add garlic and saute until golden. Stir in the turkey, sauce, pepperoni, basil, oregano and thyme.

Grease the crock pot with olive oil. Spread 1/3 of the meat on the bottom, then cover with a layer of noodles and then cheese. Repeat the layers twice. (I was only able to make two layers because my crock pot was too small. I created another pan of lasagna with the surplus and baked it, covered with foil, at 250 until it was done.) You should end up with a layer of cheese on top. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 – 4 hours, or until heated through and cheeses are melted. Keep an eye on it. It only took a few hours for mine to cook.

Original recipe: Crock Pot Pepperoni Lasagna

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4 thoughts on “Crock Pot Lasagna

  1. Julie Senter says:

    This looks delicious, Deirdre! Love baked pasta dishes at restaurants but I’ve never done one myself (not that this is baked but you say it tastes like it is). I might have to break my crock pot out of the box in my garage for this one!

  2. deirdrereid says:

    I’m sure I’ll have more baked pasta dishes as the weather cools. I like their make-ahead ease. Comfort food! Thanks for visiting!

  3. Maggie says:

    Finally–something I can actually make! I have made a version of this that didn’t have meat and didn’t require cooking the noodles.

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Maggie, I didn’t cook the noodles although I was supposed to, it was fine. It wouldn’t have been the same without the pepperoni, yum. I suppose cooked hamburger, sausage or salami would be good too.

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