Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Skillet Lasagna

This is a quick and easy alternative to a traditional lasagna. It's also great when you don't want to turn on your oven and heat up your house! I didn't have any lasagna noodles, so I substituted some rotini and it worked just as well.

-The Best 30-Minute Recipe by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated.

1 pound meatloaf mix (OR use 1/2 pound EACH lean ground beef and pork)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 ounces curly-edged regular (do not use no-boil) lasagna noodles (8 noodles), broken into 2-inch pieces (or 2 cups rotini pasta)
1 (26-ounce) jar tomato sauce, such as marinara (about 3 cups) (Prego)
2 cups water
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese (cottage cheese)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Cook meat in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon until fat renders, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain meat and return it to skillet. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Sprinkle broken noodles into skillet, then pour in tomato sauce and water over top (you may need to add extra water if noodles are especially dry). Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.

Off heat, stir in half of mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot heaping tablespoons of ricotta over noodles, then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and let stand off heat until cheeses melt, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

Makes 4 servings

SKILLET LASAGNA WITH SAUSAGE AND RED BELL PEPPER: Substitute 1 pound hot OR sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, for meatloaf mix. Add 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped fine, to skillet with sausage.

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