Eggplant, Fennel and Sausage Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
Baked ziti is one of those classic hearty meals that make for a perfect wintertime dinner. Cheesy pasta slow-cooked to perfection is great, but what's even better is spicing up the traditional recipe with a little more zest. With the addition of sweet Italian sausage and fresh vegetables, this meal goes from classic to fantastic.
Eggplant, Fennel and Sausage Baked Ziti
This flavorful recipe for baked ziti serves as the perfect comfort food on a chilly evening. Best of all, preparation time is minimal and your Crock-Pot® 3.5-Quart Casserole Crock Slow Cooker will take care of the rest. So you can sit back, relax and get cozy as the delicious aroma of eggplant, fennel and sausage ziti wafts through the air.
- 4 ounces bulk sweet Italian sausage
- 1/2 can fire roasted and diced tomatoes (with liquid)
- 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, thinly sliced
- 2 cups eggplant, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 ounces ziti or penne, uncooked
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- In a skillet, brown sausage with olive oil over medium-heat heat on all sides.
- While cooking, break up meat.
- Drain and add sausage to your casserole crock.
- Add tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, garlic, tomato paste, water, white wine, Italian seasoning and sugar.
- Stir well to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 1/2 hours.
- Add uncooked pasta and basil, stirring to combine until ziti is completely covered by liquid.
- Turn to high and cook for another 30 minutes.
- Remove cover and stir once more.
- Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, cover and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.