My husband tells me that his mother prepared casseroles for dinner almost every night. While I don’t know if this is true, I do know that my poor mother-in-law was trying to feed four hungry boys and couldn’t seem to keep any food in the house. I haven’t been much of a casserole person. To me, they seem like they are a lot of work and mess up the kitchen. However, several years ago, I was watching a cooking show and they demonstrated how to have the flavor of lasagna but the ease of a one-dish meal. I was intrigued.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the Station Fire that is burning about 10 miles or so from us. My husband and I weren’t in any danger but the air quality was making it very hard to breathe last week. One day, I was totally wiped out and grateful that I had planned on skillet lasagna for dinner. This meal just needs “casual watching” while it cooks, so it is perfect for a day when you are feeling tired (and makes great left-overs, too!). Add a side salad and you’re ready to go.
Skillet Lasagna (Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen) Serves 4-6
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (I think that is the size–I accidentally threw out the label. It isn’t the big 28-oz. can.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Italian sausage
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles broken into 2 inch pieces
2 8-oz. cans of tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Pour tomatoes and juice into a 1-quart measuring cup. Add one can of tomato juice and water until mixture measures one cup.
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown.
- Remove sausage from casing. Add sausage and ground beef to pan, breaking apart meat, until it is no longer pink.
- Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes, with juice and remaining can of tomato sauce over the pasta.
- Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender (about 20 minutes or so).
- Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot with heaping spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Cover and let stand away from the heat for about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with basil and remain Parmesan.
- Serve in pasta bowls and enjoy!