Cooking meatballs in the slow cooker is something I’ve posted about before – Spaghetti and Meatballs. The difference this time around is that the pasta is cooked in the slow cooker as well! This makes it literally a one-pan (or actually slow cooker) meal.
I must admit, there was a degree of skepticism at first about how the pasta would turn out. But it worked fantastically. There is a fair amount of liquid in the cooker before adding the pasta – don’t let this scare you off. It all gets absorbed beautifully in the last 45 minutes of cooking and comes out a treat. Just spoon it out and you’re good to go.
Any meatballs will work here so feel free to use your favourite meatball recipe. Otherwise, try the basic one below or the one here.
Slow Cooker Meatballs and Pasta
Adapted from Super Food Ideas, July 2011
25g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 tablespoons sweet sherry
500g jar tomato paste
6 cups water
350g dried short pasta (e.g. penne, rigatoni)
Combine mince, parmesan, parsley and breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix together well with your hands. Roll mixture into balls – any size you like – and set aside.
In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion and celery until soft. Add the sherry and cook stirring for 1-2 minutes to boil it down a bit. Stir in tomato paste and water, combining well.
Tip tomato mixture into the slow cooker then place the meatballs into the mixture. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours on LOW. Then add the pasta, stir through, cover again and cook for a further 45 minutes or until pasta is tender. Season to taste. Serve sprinkled with extra parmesan cheese and parsley.
The Klutzy Cook Notes
- While it doesn’t matter if the meatballs are cooked a little longer, the pasta will start to break down if it is overcooked. Around 45-50 minutes is usually a good amount of time.
- Don’t be concerned about the amount of liquid, it is all absorbed and reduced in the end.
- Experiment with different flavoured meatballs.