Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Skillet Lasagna

Every so often I pick up a Cook's Country magazine when I'm at the grocery store. I know it is by the Cook's Illustrated gang, but it just seems friendlier somehow. Also, there is a preponderance of simple, down home recipes which just appeal to me. However, I've never made anything from it.

Until now.

The idea behind a Skillet ... well, anything, actually ... but especially behind a Skillet Lasagna is that it is easier than making the actual lasagna. And just as good!

This actually is just as good and got enthusiastic comments from Tom. I also loved it.

Cooking Notes:

  1. I substituted a pound of Italian sausage for the hamburger (excuse me, ground beef).
  2. I also found a really delicious fresh ricotta which made a huge difference. I've never liked ricotta before but this ... melted and had a really fresh dairy flavor.
  3. It did take longer for the noodles to get tender than the recipe said and, thus, also took more liquid but I added it in fourth- to half-cup quantities and bided my time. Fifteen extra minutes later it was done ... and fabulous.

Skillet Lasagna

Serves 5

28 ounces diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb ground beef
10 lasagna noodles (curly edged lasagna noodles broken into 2 inch pieces)
8 ozs tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Pour tomatoes with their juices into 1 quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes snd cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 3 tablespoons parmesan. Serve.