June/July 2005

Skillet Lasagna

Our goal was to transform traditional baked lasagna into a stovetop skillet dish without losing any of its flavor or appeal.

Why This Recipe Works

Lasagna isn’t usually a dish you can throw together at the last minute. Even with no-boil noodles, it takes a good amount of time to get the components just right. Our goal was to transform traditional baked lasagna into a stovetop skillet dish without losing any of its flavor or appeal.

We built a hearty, flavorful meat sauce with onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and meatloaf mix (a more flavorful alternative to plain ground beef). A large can of diced tomatoes along with tomato sauce provided juicy tomato flavor and a nicely chunky texture. We scattered regular curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into pieces, over the top of the sauce (smaller pieces are easier to eat and serve). We then diluted the sauce with a little water so that the noodles would cook through. After a 20-minute simmer with the lid on, the pasta was tender, the sauce was properly thickened, and it was time for the cheese. Stirring Parmesan into the dish worked well, but we discovered that the sweet creaminess of ricotta was lost unless we placed it in heaping tablespoonfuls on top of the lasagna. Replacing the lid and letting the cheese warm through for several minutes was the final step for this super-easy one-pan dish.


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Serves 4 to 6


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1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
Table salt
3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound meatloaf mix
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 additional tablespoons
Ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

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Serves 4 to 6

Meatloaf mix is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal, sold pre-packaged in many supermarkets. If it's unavailable, use ground beef. Use a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe.

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

2. 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 and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

3. 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.

4. 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 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.


Building Skillet Lasagna

To cook all of the ingredients in one pan, a little attention to the ordering of the layers is necessary. It may not look like much as you begin the cooking process, but, after 20 minutes and an occasional stir, a layered lasagna appears almost as if by magic.

1. Start by sautéing onion, garlic, and meat in the skillet. Scatter the broken lasagna noodles over the meat.

2. Pour the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce over the noodles.

3. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add Parmesan, dot with ricotta, cover the skillet, and let cheese soften off heat.