Prep 20 mins
Cook 4 hrs
This is a rich, creamy, hearty, comforting pasta dish that will warm you from the inside out. This sauce is similar to vodka sauce found at restaurants. Using jarred spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese, and heavy cream, it is budget friendly and great for pot lucks or a large group. There are similar recipes that use cream cheese or premade cream cheese sauces, but using heavy cream and parmesan cheese elevates a homestyle family dish into something gourmet and special for your family and friends. They will thank you for making this, as will their cardiologists and personal trainers. Notes: This recipe makes a lot so you need a large slow cooker. This is a recipe that needs to be stirred at least once or twice while cooking and may need water added while it is cooking. It is ok to leave this as is for the first 3 hours, but check the pasta for doneness and add water as needed to suit your family's taste. Don't worry if it is a little al dente. This is a dish that is made to sit a while. The pasta will absorb the liquid the longer it sits and will wind up soft and delicious.
- 1 lb 85% lean ground beef (removed from the casing) or 1 lb turkey (removed from the casing) or 1 lb sausage (removed from the casing)
- 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- cooking spray
- 1 lb spaghetti, bow ties, rigatoni (use a thick noodle) or 1 lb ziti pasta
- 3 (14 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu Old World Style)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄2 cup butter
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 28 ounces water
- Coat the bottom of a large pan over medium heat with canola oil. Add ground beef (or turkey or sausage) and brown with onion, garlic, salt, black pepper. Drain.
- Spray the bottom of the slow cooker. Add 1/2 of the first jar of sauce then the browned meat.
- Add the second half of the first jar of sauce. Add the spaghetti. I break it in half to fit in my slow cooker.
- Add a jar full of water and then the second jar of sauce.
- Cut half of the butter into chunks and sprinkle it on top of the sauce.
- Pour half of the heavy cream on the sauce, sprinkle half the parmesan cheese on top.
- Add half of the dried italian seasoning.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours (or less 2-1/2 is ok too) check the pasta. It will be clumped together and chewy. Mix the pasta and the sauce together to bring the uncooked noodles closer to the top. Try not to dig too deep into the meat, but it's ok if you do.
- Add the last jar of sauce and half a jar of water. This is where you have to judge how done the pasta is and how much more time it will need to cook. Add the remaining parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and butter to the sauce. Replace the lid and cook for another hour or until the pasta is just done.
- Stir everything completely together and serve.