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Skillet Lasagna. Made in one skillet. All the flavor, none of the mess.
I actually came up with this recipe when camping. We were in the mood for an Italian night in the wilderness and I wanted to try to do something different from spaghetti and meat sauce. As we were camping, and when we camp, we camp, no RV, no trailer, just the good old Coleman stove or the campfire, I had to be a little creative.
When asked what he wanted for dinner…Like Garfield, Trevor loves lasagna. “I want lasagna,” he says.
“Trev” I explain in my most reasonable mother voice “we are camping, and lasagna is a lot of work and it needs an oven to bake in”.
“Why,” asks my then 10-year-old.
So I thought about it for a while. I could, I reasoned, make a camp oven as we did in Girl Scouts. Take a box and wrap it in foil, stick that in front of the campfire and it works pretty much like an oven. But still, too much work. I’m on vacation and the rest of the prep and layering, only so much space only so much time. It’s just too much.
Then I thought, what if I made it in the skillet on top of the stove? It all gets more or less mixed up on the fork on the way to your mouth anyway, so why not?
And so Skillet Lasagna was invented. No need to drain noodles. No need to make layers. Just add the ingredients, cook and serve. One skillet.
I like to use mafalde pasta in this because it looks like skinny lasagna noodles. But you could use bow-tie pasta, rotini (corkscrew pasta), or break up some regular lasagna noodles. I also use a jarred marinara sauce, we were camping after all. But if you want, you could make your own fresh Marinara. As far as ricotta cheese, well, I’ve learned a lot since those days, and while I prefer my own homemade, I don’t always have the time to make it, so if you do use a store bought ricotta, I just ask that you buy a good quality brand. Part-skim is fine. I love to use a combo of wine and water, if you don’t want to use the wine, just add additional water so the pasta has enough liquid to cook.
And that’s it. A skillet with a lid, ingredients in place. Let’s make some easy, skillet lasagna.
In a large 12-inch skillet, with a lid, cook the meats over low heat until just no longer pink. Drain in a sieve if there is a lot of fat. Add the onion and garlic to the meat and sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and Italian herbs, if using, mix well.
Pour in the marinara sauce along with the wine and water; stir then add the broken pasta pieces, stir. Cover and lower the heat to is, simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (After 15 minutes the sauce should still be slightly watery, if not, add a bit more water); cover and cook another 5 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
Uncover the skillet, stir in parmesan cheese; dot the ricotta over the top then sprinkle or layer on the mozzarella. Cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely melted. LindySez: If making this at home, you can pop it under the broiler to melt and get a little bit of browning on the cheese.
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