Good thing he's only a comic book cat, because Garfield would go crazy for even a lick of this classic baked Italian cuisine! With its creamy ricotta and parmesan cheeses, slightly peppery tomato sauce, and moist sausage, your taste buds will be at this crock pot casserole's beckon call.
~ 8 (7 oz) curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken in half ~ 1/2 tsp salt ~ 1/2 tsp pepper ~ 1-3/4 cups (15 oz) ricotta cheese ~ 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 oz) grated parmesan cheese ~ 1/2 cup (1 bunch) fresh basil, minced ~ 1 large egg ~ 1 (24 oz) jar tomato sauce (Rao's Arrabiata recommended, or your favorite spicy pasta sauce) ~ 1 lb 3 oz mild Italian sausage, removed from its casing ~ 4 cups (1 lb) shredded mozzarella cheese ~ vegetable oil spray
1. Layer 3 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil and fold in half to make a 16 in x 4 in rectangle. Press the foil into the back side of the slow cooker insert. Then fit 2 large sheets of foil into the slow cooker perpendicular to one another, crimping the extra foil over the edges of the slow cooker insert. 2. Cook lasagna noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Drain noodles, rinse under cold water, and then spread them out into a single layer over clean kitchen towels to dry. 3. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, 1 cup parmesan cheese, basil, egg, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce into the slow cooker. 4. Arrange 4 lasagna pieces lengthwise in the slow cooker, then dollop 9 rounded tbsp of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Pinch off 1/3 of the sausage and drop tbsp-sized pieces over the ricotta . Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, then spoon 1/2 cup tomato sauce over the top. Repeat layering the lasagna noodles, ricotta mixture, sausage, mozzarella, and sauce twice more. 5. For the final layer, arrange the remaining 4 noodles in the slow cooker, top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Cover and cook for 4 hours on the low setting. Let lasagna cool for 20 minutes. Using the aluminum foil sling, lift lasagna out of the slow cooker and serve.