A couple of nights a week our family ends up eating in shifts because everyone is going every which way, all at the same time. Having a hearty soup simmering in the slow cooker is an easy way to give them all a warm meal. —Susan Stetzel, Gainesville, New York
Makes:8 servings (3 quarts)
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 pounds bulk mild Italian sausage
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Parmesan rind, optional
- 8 ounces angel hair pasta, broken into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
- Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, mix bread crumbs and milk. Let stand 5 minutes; drain. Stir in eggs, cheese and seasonings. Add sausage; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-in. balls. Place meatballs on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake until cooked through, 12-15 minutes.
- Transfer meatballs to a 6-qt. slow cooker. Add stock, marinara sauce, water, basil and, if desired, Parmesan rind. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours to allow flavors to blend.
- Discard Parmesan rind. Stir in pasta; cook, covered, on high until pasta is tender, 15-20 minutes longer. If desired, serve with additional cheese.
Editor's NoteTo make soft bread crumbs, tear bread into pieces and place in a food processor or blender. Cover and pulse until crumbs form. One slice of bread yields 1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbs.
Nutrition Facts1-1/2 cups: 394 calories, 26g fat (9g saturated fat), 95mg cholesterol, 1452mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 2g fiber), 17g protein.