Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Cacciatore


According to online definitions: “Cacciatore is usually composed of tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and possibly, bell peppers. It is simmered for a long time to bring out the flavors and to allow the meat to become meltingly tender.”  WOW… I always called this cacciatore and, it turns out, that really IS what it Is!  I generally do chicken cacciatore but Italian sausage was on sale so… there you go.

I buy Italian sausage when it’s on sale, plan a meal around it and cook/freeze the remainder for future meals.  Usually the Italian sausage that is on sale is a “rope” so I either: remove it from the casing and brown it, like ground sausage, and divide it up – boil it whole, which helps remove the fat, and cut it into chunks to use in thinss like black beans or soup or Italian Sausage subs – or make little sausage “meatballs” by removing the casing and taking Tablespoon size  amounts of the sausage, rounding them into balls and browning them.  I use these meatballs for things like Etouffee.  That’s what I did this time.  I did all this yesterday – putting a plastic bag of about 2 cups of meatballs in the fridge and freezing the rest for future use.
So…  This morning I took my ingredients and started tossing them into the slow cooker.
A large can of diced tomatoes, undrained. I put about 1/2 of the can on the bottom of the slow cooker and then poured in the meatballs.  On top of that I spread about 1/2 of a small can of tomato paste, 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic, about 1 Tbsp of Italian seasoning, and some freshly ground pepper.

Next the veggies were layered on – 1/2 of a Large sweet onion, 1/2 of a Large red bell pepper, and a small green pepper.  These were cut into medium sized strips so they don’t disintegrate during the cooking process.

The remaining tomato paste was mixed into the remaining diced tomatoes and layered on then and more herbs were sprinkled on, finishing with a small can of sliced black olives.
Covered all that with sliced mushrooms.
A splash of red wine – probably about 1/2 – 3/4 c – I turned the slow cooker on Low and left for work.
10 hours later – Italian Sausage Cacciatore – ready to serve.  I knew that my Heart wouldn’t be home before 8 p.m., at the earliest, so I turned off the slow cooker and left it covered to stay hot until he came home – which it did.

This brand is, without a doubt, my favorite of the gluten free pastas… it’s NOT mushy.  Make sure to ignore the package cooking times and check it about 5 minutes prior to when it says and MAKE SURE to rinse the pasta with COLD water – totally makes the texture perfect. You can then rinse it in HOT tap water to re-heat it before serving. Also, some recipes say to use some of the pasta water as a thickener – Don’t ! The water from gluten-free pasta is very gummy and does not have good texture.

I totally forgot to take a picture of our plates – I was starving and just wanted to eat – but I package up leftovers in lunch-sized servings so grabbing lunch on the way out to work in the morning is easy….   Yum… a hearty and satisfying, comfort-foodie sorta meal.

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