There's a reason why slow cooker recipes are wildly popular. We want convenience, and we want—and need—it now. The slow cooker delivers just that, working hard for us while we're hard at work, welcoming us home to a fragrant dinner that's just waiting to be enjoyed. This simple appliance works miracles with tough, inexpensive cuts of meat, coaxing out incredible flavor and turning out meltingly tender results. Through its low, slow cooking, it melds and marries flavors; it brings ingredients together in delicious harmony. And it offers up a few surprises: appetizers, sides, and drinks that simmer to perfection—hands-free.
Slow-Simmered Meat Sauce
Here's a way to get all-day-simmered flavor in a meat sauce that cooks hands-free (and therefore stress-free). We like the combination of hot Italian sausage and ground sirloin: The sausage lends richness to the sauce, while the sirloin keeps it lean overall. If you'd rather, you can use all ground sirloin—just bump up the herbs and red pepper as needed to replace the flavor the sausage would add. The mafaldine pasta called for is a flat noodle with ruffled edges, like little lasagna noodles; the shape is perfect for catching all the luscious sauce in its nooks and crannies. You can substitute whatever pasta you like for the mafaldine—anything from spaghetti to rotini.