Looking for a simple, delicious, and family-friendly Crock Pot recipe that everyone will love? These Slow Cooker Marinara Pasta Shells with Sausage and Butternut Squash require very little prep (you don’t even have to boil the pasta!), and they simmer all day creating a flavorful, rustic, and healthy dinner.
All of my boys love pasta, especially if it’s served with a marinara sauce. But the same old jarred sauce and noodles can get very boring, very fast. That’s why I am in love with this newest Crock Pot creation! As I’m busy running around all day with the little guys, I can leave our supper simmering in my slow cooker so that it’s ready and waiting for us when we’re hungry and tired.
Plus, if you have guests arriving in your home for the upcoming holidays, this is a great way to feed a group without any fuss. The mild flavors appeal to everyone, and it’s a complete dinner all in one pot. Enjoy your company and stop worrying about spending too much time in the kitchen!
Best of all, this dinner is full of nutritious ingredients (white beans! butternut squash!), but the simple marinara brings it all together in a very kid-friendly way. And since the pasta shells cook right in the pot (along with some Parmesan cheese), the sauce thickens up at the end and coats the noodles in a creamy, dreamy treat!
I am a huge fan of the sweet-and-savory combination of sausage and butternut squash, but you could substitute an equal amount of ground beef (instead of sausage) or other root vegetable to suit your family’s taste buds.
If you’re pressed for time in the morning, do what I do: brown the sausage and onion, and cut up the squash (or buy it already diced) the night before, so that you can just toss everything into the slow cooker as you’re headed out the door.
Enjoy this warm and healthy comfort food!
- 1 (32 ounce) jar Marinara Sauce
- 1 (16 ounce) box medium pasta shells
- ½ of a medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into small pieces (about 3-4 cups)
- 1 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage (I use sweet Italian turkey sausage and just remove the casings on my own)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 (15 ounce) can white beans
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté sausage and onion until no longer pink. Drain.
- Transfer sausage and onion to slow cooker.
- Add marinara sauce, squash, and water to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Cook on “low” heat for 6-8 hours.
- Once cooked, increase the heat to “high” and add the pasta shells.
- Cook pasta in the slow cooker for 45 minutes, or until al dente.
- Turn off the heat, stir in the white beans and cheese, and serve warm.
Recipe adapted from http://www.barillaus.com
Looking for other tasty slow cooker recipes? Check these out: