Yes, This is a Crockpot Lasagna
This is the best lasagna ever and I don't care if you're about to show up with your nonna and pitch forks to tell me that making a lasagna in a crockpot is evil, because all it'll take is one bite of my crockpot lasagna and you'll turn that pitchfork into a lasagna shovel for your mouth. Fight me on it!
Please don't fight me. I'm just a gay man in your computer with too much time on my hands and a lot of lasagna.
So this isn't actually my recipe at all. I was photographing it for one of our clients, Genius Kitchen, which also required me making the recipe, and to be honest I wasn't too sure about it at first. My last name is Ciolino, my nose is big, and I basically bleed olive oil. I take my Italian food almost kinda seriously, which is more seriously then I take writing blog posts, clearly. So, I was nervous.
You can't get perfect squares when cutting a lasagna out of a crockpot. And what about the cheese? How's it gonna get all crispy on top if it isn't in an oven? Also literally what the hell do you mean this thing doesn't have ricotta?
I had questions.
First, if you're concerned about the shape your lasagna comes in, I've learned, you'll never find joy in life. It's one of the messiest foods ever and it's going to fall apart the second your fork hits it, so who cares if it looks like mush when it first gets dumped on to your plate?
Second, yes there's no crispy top. But, you know what there is? Crispy sides and bottom. Where the mozzarella hits the hot crockpot walls and then just sits there for 5 hours? It makes for amazingness.
Third, yes, no ricotta. You could honestly add ricotta and I won't tell anyone. But this recipe called for cottage cheese instead, so I tried it. It worked a lot like ricotta, though maybe a bit less rich, which I thought was a win because as much as I love lasagna, I don't like the whole sit on the couch and feel like I'm dying thing that comes after eating super heavy foods.
Here are some quick notes and a disclaimer: no, this recipe isn't actually the best lasagna ever, probably. But it is remarkably good, especially considering it takes about 15 minutes to toss together. It lacks a little bit of the flavor depth that you may find in a lasagna from a traditional Italian restaurant, but that's mostly due to the use of solely ground beef and no added sausage or lamb -- so, feel free to substitute part of the ground beef for Italian sausage or lamb.
Anyhow, I think that's everything you need to know about this lasagna and my inner psyche. So here's the recipe! And click right here for the original recipe on Genius Kitchen (submitted by kind stranger @derf2440)
serves 6 (or one 15 year old Beau)
- 1 1/2 lb 90% ground beef*** see notes
- 1yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian or curly parsley
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (about 25 oz)
- 1(6 oz) can tomato paste
- 12 ounces cottage cheese - full fat or fat free
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 16 ounces lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- Brown ground beef in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, and salt, and cook until the onions just start to get translucent, about 8 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and tomato paste. And bring to a simmer. Let cook on low for 5 minutes.
- Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with a bit of the cottage cheese, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat with meat sauce, noodles and cheeses until all are used up -- finishing by topping it with mozzarella cheese.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.
To bring this a bit closer to a traditional lasagna flavor-wise, substitute 1/4 - 1/2 pound of the beef for Italian sausage.
Alternatively, if you want to keep this on the leaner side, stick to just using 95% lean ground beef -- just remember fat is flavor, so you'll be missing out a little bit!