If you regularly shop at Trader Joe’s, then I’m sure you have your favorite (or list of favorite) Trader Joe’s products, we all have them, my list includes their apricot stilton cheese, peanut butter granola bars and soy chorizo.
I recently found out that Kurt’s favorite item is their Mini Raviolis. Unlike most packaged raviolis that you find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, Trader Joe’s sells theirs in the dry packaged pasta section.
The first time we ate them for dinner, I couldn’t help but thinking of Chef Boyardee cans of mini raviolis with meatballs, so I decided to recreate this childhood favorite in a slow cooker recipe that takes the dish out of the can and into a fresh, flavorful recipe that’s easy to make and sure to be a favorite for the whole family!
But don’t worry if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, or you can’t find dry ravioli, you can use any kind of dry pasta, tortellini would be the closest and can be found on the dry pasta aisle at most major grocery stores, or you could substitute penne, rotini or small shells.
- 3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
- ½ cup diced onions
- 1 lb Italian Sausage
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tsp parsley (divided)
- 2 tsp oregano (divided)
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil (divided)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (divided)
- 1 tsp black pepper (divided)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 15 oz + 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 lb uncooked mini ravioli or other dry pasta
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large skillet, cook the diced onions 3-5 minutes.
Combine the cooked onions, Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, egg yolk, 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tbsp basil, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper in a large bowl.
Use your hands to roll the mixture into approximately 24 mini meatballs.
In the same skillet you cooked the diced onions, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil, bring to medium-high heat and place the meatballs in the skillet, brown on all sides, 3-5 minutes.
Add the meatballs to a slow cooker.
In the same skillet, use a paper towel to wipe up any grease left behind from the meatballs, then add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet over medium high heat.
Add the garlic, saute 1 minute, then add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, remaining 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp oregano, 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper.
Mix everything together and simmer 10 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta until al dente, then add to the sauce.
Add the sauce and pasta to the slow cooker.
Cook on low 1.5-2 hours.
The meatballs and sauce can be slow cooked on low for up to 8 hours, so if you’d like to let them slow cook all day, simply add them to the slow cooker without the pasta, then add the pasta before serving.
This dish is full of flavor, from tender meatballs to rich sauce and delicious little raviolis!
It’s definitely going on my list of new favorites!
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