Friday, August 5, 2011

Skillet Lasagna

My favorite way to make Lasagna is Slow Cooker Lasagna, but an easy way to make Lasagna without all the work really appealed to me. Hello, Skillet Lasagna!

This sauce was light, the noodles came out perfectly cooked, and I made this meatless and it still came together well. I would have loved to add some roasted vegetables or spinach, but my crisper was empty.

I thought I would be efficient, and stacked two noodles while I broke them up, but didn't separate them well enough when I threw them into the pan, so some stuck together while it was cooking. While I stirred it, I had to work some of the noodles apart. Next time I'll break them up one by one.

The only downfall of this recipe was that it needs constant attention for 30 minutes as this has lots of stirring and steps. If you are the type of cook that can chop the accompanying salad, stir the skillet on the stove and sip a glass of wine all at the same time, this is a no-brainer. If you cook while a cartoon keeps half of your kids occupied, but he still insists on sneaking into the kitchen to lick your leg (seriously - I couldn't make that up) and the other child screams his unhappiness from his high chair about the teething toy you keep picking up off the floor, washing and rinsing, then repeating, you might need another adult around to run interference while you whip this up.

The best way to eat this is to scoop a little ricotta on your fork with some noodles. Perfect combo. The leftovers were well received by the grownups the next day.

Skillet Lasagna
recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
Table salt
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound meatloaf mix (I went meatless)
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch lengths (about 8 oz)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used pureed cottage cheese)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (I used 1 tablespoon dried basil)

1. Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a 4 cup liquid measuring cup. Add water until the mixture measures 4 cups.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion begins to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking apart the meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
3. Scatter the pasta over the meat but do not stir.

Pour the diced tomatoes with their juice and the tomato sauce over the pasta.

Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot with heaping tablespoons of the ricotta, cover, and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.

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