With over 1 million pins, enjoy this addictive slow cooker beef and cheese pasta that is cooked long and slow to bring out the best cheesy meat sauce!
Here’s a really simple meal to throw together that’s pretty kid-friendly too. This slow cooker beef and cheese pasta boasts lots of melty mozzarella cheese strings and a rich meat pasta sauce that has plenty of time to marry the flavors long and slow.
It’s a big enough meal for eight servings so there are plenty of leftovers to go around, although there usually aren’t much leftovers with this one. Though not your conventional pasta sauce, the addition of sugar to balance out the tartness of tomato sauce and other seasonings to make it extra beefy makes this an addictive combination. And with that, let’s get started.
SLOW COOKER BEEF AND CHEESE PASTA TIPS AND TRICKS:
Pasta: I cooked the pasta till al dente and tossed it in the slow cooker 30 minutes before the end. Putting in cooked or uncooked pasta in the beginning will make for one soggy mess since it cooks for such a long time and no one likes soggy pasta!
Ground beef: Depending on how lean your ground beef is, it should be browned over the stovetop to melt away any fat before adding it to the slow cooker. Too much fat will dilute the sauce. If you have super lean ground beef, you can skip this step but I would brown anything below 93% lean/7 % fat, then drain away all that fat.
Spinach: I used frozen spinach but if you want to use fresh spinach, toss in the cleaned leaves once it’s all done cooking and mix. The residual heat will be enough to cook them. It’s the same reason I tossed in the cooked frozen spinach last. Cooking spinach for too long will make it tough and leathery. There’s no such thing as undercooking spinach since you can eat it raw anyway but there is such a thing as overcooking it!
Marinara sauce: The marinara sauce is mildly sweetened to balance out the tartness from tomatoes. I’ve also added some beef bouillon cubes and Worcestershire sauce to enhance the beef flavor and make the sauce extra beefy. It’s like adding in the flavor of 2 cups of beef broth/stock, only you don’t have to cook it down to make a thick pasta sauce. Do a taste test and see if you need to add more of one of the other seasonings to tweak it your taste.
And that’s about it! Like I said, a really simple meal if you’re craving a meaty pasta and happen to like cheese!
OTHER STUFF TO TRY:
If you liked the flavor of this and wanna do a baked pasta version, try out this baked ziti. If you loved the pasta sauce flavors and want to try a stovetop vegetarian version, this easy vegetable pasta is the way to go. And a personal favorite and staple in my household as far as slow cooked meat pasta sauces go is this slow cooked creamy Bolognese meat sauce (we make this several times a year).
For appetizers, these Parmesan garlic knots pair really well! Enjoy and happy cooking!
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