Being a mom to a picky four-year-old frustrates me. While her younger sister, Grace, eats practically anything on her plate, Ginny snubs her nose at any food that doesn’t have pasta or rice. I’m also not a short-order cook and won’t prepare a dish just for her. Because of that, my husband and I tend to include pasta or rice in most meals during the week. After all, we don’t want to starve our child. (That said, if she refuses to eat what she’s served, she goes to bed hungry.)
The good news is Ginny is starting to try new things. Most times, she’ll wrinkle her nose after a small bite and declare, “I don’t like it. I’ll like it when I’m older.” Sometimes, though, we luck out and she decides it is edible.
Until Ginny starts eating a larger variety of foods, we will continue to make lots of pasta and rice dishes. Luckily, my husband and I love pasta. We look at this as a challenge to try new recipes.
When my parents were in town to help us out when I gave birth to Samantha, we tested out a new slow cooker recipe, Pizza Rigatoni, from Taste of Home Casseroles, Slow Cooker, & Soups. It was delectable! I enjoyed it so much that I made this Crock Pot Pizza Pasta again so I could share the recipe with you.
Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. As the water heats up, brown 1 1/2 pounds bulk hot Italian sausage. Before it finishes browning, add 1 small chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic. Drain the grease.
By this time the water should be boiling. Add a pinch of salt and 1 pound of rigatoni to the boiling water. Allow it to boil for 5-7 minutes, then drain. You don’t want it to cook completely. It will finish cooking in the slow cooker.
Before you add the ingredients to the slow cooker (at least 5 quarts), I urge you to line it with a slow cooker liner (you can find them at the grocery store) and spray with cooking spray. This dish has a tendency to stick,
Add, in the following order, half the sausage mix, half the rigatoni, 2 cups shredded mozzarella, 1/2 can cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 jar of pizza sauce, and 1/2 package of pepperoni slices.
Repeat the layers.
My girls love this toothsome dish, even Ginny!
- 1 1/2 lbs bulk hot Italian sausage
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 box (1 lb) Rigatoni, uncooked
- 4 C. mozzarella, shredded
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 jar pizza sauce (16 oz)
- 1 pkg sliced pepperoni (3 1/2 oz)
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt and rigatoni. Allow to boil for 5-7 minutes, before the pasta is done cooking. Drain.
- As the rigatoni cooks,brown the Italian sausage in a skillet. Right before it is done browning, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Finish browning. Drain.
- In a 5-quart slow cooker, layer half the ingredients in the following order: sausage, rigatoni, mozzarella, soup, pizza sauce, and pepperoni.
- Repeat the layers.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.