SKILLET LASAGNA (from Louise Gates)
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Television Show 10th Anniversary Best Recipes 2001-2010
If Louise and I aren't talking about quilting, the conversation is likely to be about food. Turns out we both feel the same way about lasagna—love to eat it, but don't like putting it together. Louise has the answer: lasagna ingredients cooked all together in a skillet dish. Amazingly, it has all the flavor of regular lasagna! I actually like it better—not as heavy a dish. This recipe will also go on my list for "good to bring to a potluck, or to someone's house who's having meals brought in."
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
2 t. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 t. salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 t. crushed red pepper
1 lb. ground beef or sausage (any kind, including chicken or turkey)
10 curly-edged regular lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (put aside 2 T. of this)
4-8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (I used about 6 oz)
salt and pepper to taste
8-15 oz. part-skim ricotta (I used about 12 oz)
3 T. minced fresh basil (if available)
1. Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough water to the tomatoes to measure 4 cups.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and 1/2 t. salt and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.
3. Stir in the red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
4. Scatter the noodle pieces over the meat, but do not stir. Pour the diced tomatoes and the can of tomato sauce over the pasta. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally [or not—I forgot to], until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat under the skillet (gas stove) or take off the burner (electric). Stir in the mozzarella cheese and all but 2 T. of the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If serving to guests, transfer to a casserole dish with a cover. (Thanks for this tip to Louise's son Tony.)
6. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta cheese over the noodles. Cover the skillet/casserole and let stand off the heat for five minutes.
7. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and pass the extra parmesan around for a garnish.
- I forgot to put in the 8 oz. can of tomato sauce—still was great!
- I didn't have fresh basil, so I just left this out. If I'd thought ahead, I would have put some dried basil in with the tomatoes, but it was also fine without. I'll use fresh basil in the summer, when I have plants in the back yard.
- The recipe called for 8 oz. of mozzarella and 15 oz. of ricotta, but I cut back to save some calories. Still great. I could probably have cut back even more, hence the suggested range given above.