Monday, July 23, 2012

Skillet Lasagna

 I was recently browsing a few recipes, looking for a new delicious something, and I happened upon another food blog called Tracy's Culinary Adventures. Right away I felt a sort of connection with her because she seems to enjoy writing blogs and taking pictures of her food creations as much as I do. I loved that the little blurb about this recipe is about how the dish fits into her personal life, which is also how I usually write. I guess that's why people like my blog. People say to me all the time "I can hear your voice saying the things you write." I love that. :)
 Ok, so anyway, this recipe is pretty freaking awesome. I literally didn't change one thing (which is really saying something!). It reminded me of the Skillet Baked Ziti that I got from ATK a while back, and figured this MUST be worth a try as well. It's so easy and yummy, is ready in a fraction of the time, and you only have one pan to clean up after dinner. Isn't that perfect? Tracy lists it as being "Barely adapted from Cook's Country's Skillet Suppers", but let's still give her the credit since it was her post that brought it to me. Fair enough? Hope you'll give it a try!
Thanx Tracy!

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork and veal)
10 lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Add the diced tomatoes along with their juice to a 1 quart (4 cup) measuring cup. Add enough water to bring the volume to 1 quart total.

Set a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When it starts to shimmer, add the onion and the salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the meat, using a wooden spoon to break it apart. Cook until the meat is browned.

Add the broken noodles to the pan, but do not stir - just let them sit on top of the onion/meat mixture. Pour the tomato/water mixture and the tomato sauce over the noodles (again, don't stir). Cover the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, now stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender (about 20 minutes).

Turn off the heat under the pan. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drop the ricotta by heaping spoonfuls onto the top of the lasagna (don't stir to incorporate), then cover and let stand for about 5 minutes to allow the cheese to soften. Remove the cover and sprinkle with the basil and remaining Parmesan, then serve.

There's not much I would change about this recipe. It's fabulous exactly as it's written. The only thing I would add is a little shredded mozzarella cheese sprinkled over the top.
The only variation I think I'd do is to substitute half of the ground meat with sweet Italian sausage. Just break it up and brown it with the meat as directed.

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