Slow Cooker Sausage & Eggplant Baked Ziti

Slow Cooker Sausage & Eggplant Baked Ziti

Ingredients

  • 8 oz bulk Italian sausage (I used a combo of hot and sweet)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
  • 1 head of fennel (also known as anise)
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 oz uncooked ziti or penne
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Brown sausage meat; drain and place in the crock of a 5-7 quart slow cooker
  2. Peel eggplant and cut into cubes about 1-inch big; add to crock.
  3. Cut stems off fennel, core and slice thinly, add to crock.
  4. Add the garlic, tomato paste, fire roasted tomatoes, water, wine, Italian seasoning, sugar and salt to the crock. Stir well to combine.
  5. Cover and cook on high 3-3½ hours, low 6-7 hours
  6. Add the uncooked ziti–if you cooked on low, turn it up to high to cook the pasta–stirring so the pasta is submerged in the sausage/eggplant mixture.
  7. Cook for 30 minutes on high
  8. Stir and sprinkle with the shredded cheese; cover and cook 10 minutes.
  9. Uncover and let the baked ziti stand on warm setting for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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