Although a slow cooker is not meant to be a seasonal small appliance, I tend to treat it so, hauling it out in fall and winter to cook the warm, filling comfort foods like soups and stews I’m not as inclined to eat in spring and summer. A silly habit, really, considering the slow cooker is also ideally suited to warm weather cooking as it can cook a delicious meal without increasing the temperature in the kitchen.
That said, as I perused cookbooks last fall ready to bring my slow cooker out of hibernation for the cool months ahead, a recipe for a lasagna-style dish caught my attention. It helped that I had all the necessary ingredients at the ready without needing to make a trip to the grocery store. Made with oven-ready (translation: no precooking required) lasagna noodles, the recipe went together quickly and the results were well worth the effort, limited as it was.
Since then I’ve also made my traditional lasagna recipe (ground beef in a tomato-based sauce layered with noodles and a mixture of ricotta or cottage cheese, eggs and parmesan cheese) in the slow cooker – also with great success.
Because of the moist heat of the slow cooker, there is very little drying out of the lasagna noodles compared to when the dish is cooked in the oven (translation: slow cooked lasagna is less chewy and minus the dried edges you usually get when cooked in the oven). If you prefer some crusted bits on your lasagna, you can get some of this in a slow cooker, but to a lesser degree. And, by the time this happens, the pasta may be too tender. But even if that’s your preferred style of lasagna, don’t not try slow cooking it. You may be pleasantly surprised at the result.