Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

I’m breaking out my slow cooker again for an absolutely delicious meat sauce!  It’s so flavorful, and it’s loaded with both ground chuck and hot sausage.  I even snuck a couple of red peppers into it for some added nutrients.  My husband never even noticed them!  This recipe reminded me of my mom’s (and aunts’) meat sauce.  It was that good!

This recipe does require a decent amount of prep before you throw everything into the slow cooker, but believe me, it’s well worth the extra work.  This also make a ton of sauce!  I recommend freezing half of it right off the bat.  (You could always just cur the recipe in half, but who doesn’t want a delicious sauce in their freezer for one of those busy weekday nights?)

I made zucchini noodles instead of pasta and they were perfect.  (I am tempted to make some delicious rigatoni with the sauce I have in the freezer though.  A little pasta never hurt anyone, right?)  Use whatever pasta (or pasta substitute) your heart desires!

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (1)

Start with the meat…

  • Remove 8 hot sausage links from their casings.  (You sweet sausage if you prefer!)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (2)

  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sausage and 1 pound of ground chuck.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (3)

  • Break the meat up with a wooden spoon.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (4)

  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the meat is browned.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (6)

  • Meanwhile, dice up 2 onions and 2 red peppers, and mince up 7 cloves of garlic.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (5)

  • Once the meat is browned, transfer it to your slow cooker using a slotted spoon so all the fat drains out.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (7)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (11)

  • Discard all the excess fat that remains in your skillet.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (8)

  • Place your skillet back over the heat and add a little EVOO.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (9)

  • Add the diced vegetables and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (10)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (12)

  • Transfer the vegetables to your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (13)

  • Pour in 3 large cans of crushed tomatoes.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (14)

  • Add 1 small can of tomato paste.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (15)

  • Pour in ½ cup of red wine.  (I used a Malbec because the bottle was already open.)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (16)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (17)

  • Season generously with some coarse kosher salt and ground black pepper.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (18)

  • Sprinkle in a little crushed red pepper flake.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (19)

  • Add some dried thyme.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

  • Finish with some grated Parmesan cheese.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (21)

  • Stir to combine.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (22)

  • Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (23)

  • Just before the sauce is finished, spiralize 3 zucchini through the shredder blade.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (24)

  • Place the zucchini noodles in a large microwavable bowl.
  • Cover and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes until softened slightly.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (25)

  • Drain the zucchini noodles before serving.

To serve, place some zucchini noodles in the center of your plate.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (26)

Top with lots of the meat sauce.  (Don’t be stingy!  Also, if you are using regular pasta, you may want to toss the pasta with a little sauce before serving and then top it with more sauce once it’s plated.)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (27)

Finish with a little Parmesan.

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (28)

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (29)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (30)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (31)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (32)

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles (33)

 

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Serves: zucchini noodles serves 4; pasta sauce serves 16
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 8 hot Italian sausage links, removed from their casings
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • coarse kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 zucchini, spiralized through the shredder blade
Directions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the ground chuck and sausage meat.
  3. Break the meat up with a wooden spoon.
  4. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the meat to your slow cooker using a slotted spoon.
  6. Discard the excess fat in the skillet.
  7. Add the olive oil to the same skillet.
  8. Once the oil is hot, add the peppers, onions, and garlic.
  9. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  10. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker.
  11. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flake, thyme, and Parmesan cheese to the slow cooker.
  12. Stir well.
  13. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  14. Just before the sauce is finished, place the zucchini noodles in a microwavable bowl.
  15. Cover and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes.
  16. Drain the zucchini noodles.
  17. Toss the zucchini noodles in the meat sauce and add some extra Parmesan cheese.
Notes
This recipe makes a lot of sauce! I recommend freezing half of it.

Adapted from: Jelly Toast Blog

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: