Say it with me: skillet….lasagna. Skillet..lasagna. Skillet. Lasagna. I can picture people rising to their feet in a crescendoed slow clap.
Let me start by saying that one of my husband’s favorite meals is lasagna. He always asks for it. But…I never make it for him. I can’t be boiling all kinds of pots of water and assembling all kinds of layers and then placing it in the oven to bake for close to an hour. I’ll be honest, that’s a lot of steps for just-got-off-of-work me and, frankly, I’m usually too lazy to attempt such a delicious feat. Plus, it’d probably keep me from succeeding in my weeknight dinner goal: get dinner on the table before Wheel of Fortune comes on at 7:00 (I’m actually 80 years old).
So making the discovery that lasagna can be cooked in a skillet was like a revelation for me. I thought, “This…this...could be working?” The ingredients are simple. You use one pan. There’s no boiling the noodles beforehand. You can have lasagna in your family’s face in less than 30 minutes. Ahhh (that’s the sound of some distant choir echoing the joy). Don’t worry. I got super excited, too.
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp chopped fresh basil, divided
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup diced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 lb ground beef
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz (∼half a package) whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken into 1″ squares
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
In a medium mixing bowl, mix the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and 2 tablespoons of the chopped basil together until well combined. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and red pepper flakes. Swirl around until the oil is hot and the red peppers are slightly fragrant.
Add the onion, let cook for 2 minutes, and then add the garlic. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper (to taste) and add to the skillet. Break the beef up into small pieces and allow to cook until browned (no pink should be left), about 7 minutes. Drain any excess grease, if necessary.
Layer the lasagna noodle pieces in an even layer on top of the ground beef mixture. Pour the tomato mixture on top of the noodles and gently jiggle the skillet so the tomatoes fall evenly into the spaces and create an even layer on top. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the noodles are tender.
Add the ricotta cheese in clumps around the top of the lasagna and gently spread to cover the tomatoes (it’s okay if it doesn’t look perfect). Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of fresh basil over the top and serve hot.