1 pound ground Italian sausage (see note 1)
1 large onion chopped (about 2 cups)
3 carrots peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic minced
28 ounces diced tomatoes undrained
15 ounces tomato sauce
8 ounces mushrooms sliced, optional (see note 2)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (see note 3)
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water
8 ounces dry lasagna noodles broken into bite-sized pieces (see note 4)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese for topping
Fresh basil or minced freshly parsley, for garnish, optional
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine sausage, onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook until the sausage has browned and the vegetables have softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain if desired.
Meanwhile, to the slow cooker, add diced tomatoes and their juice, tomato sauce, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, basil, fennel, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper). Stir in water and sausage mixture.
Cover and heat on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours. During the last 10 minutes of cooking time, stir in the pasta, cover, and continue to cook until softened. Serve with mozzarella cheese and fresh herbs if desired.
Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup