This recipe comes from 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics p. 107
My notes are in bold again.
Beef & Rigatoni Bake
2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided didn't use this
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 onions I only used about 1/4 of one because it's all I had
4 stalks celery left this out
4 cloves garlic, minced I used 2 & I put them through my garlic press
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves I didn't have thyme so I used oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns I just used regular black pepper
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup
1 cup tomato juice, beef stock or water I used tomato juice because I had some open from a recipe I made the other day
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups rigatoni, cooked until barely tender (about 7 minutes) and drained I used Penne Rotini because it's what I had
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped, optional I only used about 1/2 of one
1 fresh hot chile pepper, minced, optional I'm leaving this out
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium high heat for 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Drain liquid from pan. I cooked 3 lbs ground beef so I have some cooked on hand for next time. I ended up putting all my meat in a bowl to let it cool while I got other stuff going. So, technically, if you use a large enough pan, you'll only dirty the one pan for the meat & sauce & 1 pan for the noodles.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil to pan. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in tomato soup, juice and Worcestershire sauce. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. It's kind of a "duh" thing to say, but be careful, it splatters A LOT.
3. Add cooked rigatoni and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until hot and bubbly. Stir in cheese, green pepper and chile pepper, if using. Coer and cook on high for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and pepper is heated through.
Once I got going on this recipe, I started to think it would be similar to the beef and noodle casserole one I did the other day. We'll see how it turns out though.
The book also said you can make this ahead:
This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate meat and vegetable mixtures separately for up to 2 days. When you're ready to cook, combine in slow cooker stoneware and continue with the recipe.