Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Prom Night Skillet Lasagna

I thought of Kevin while I was making this so figured it would be a good one to post. It's a slightly modified America's Test Kitchen recipe that gives you all the joy of lasagna with Hamburger Helper ease.

You will need:
One large-ish skillet - at least 12 inches (Just like my... oh never mind.)
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
(Optional items: mushrooms, green peppers, zucchini, squash, carrots*)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed**
1/8 t red pepper flakes
Teaspoon or so of dried oregano
1 pound of one or a combination of the following: ground turkey, lean ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken, TVP, or those fake meat crumble things. This is also optional; you can do a veggie lasagna if you want.
10 regular dried lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces***
1 24-oz can of diced tomatoes
Some water
1 8-oz can of tomato sauce
Grated Parmesan cheese****
Ricotta - the smallest container of anything from whole milk to skim, depending on your personal dietary needs.
3 T chopped fresh basil

Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the skillet until nice and hot. Add the onions and any other veggies plus a pinch of salt. Saute until the onions are soft OR if using other veggies, until most of the water has cooked out. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute, until you can really smell the additions. Add your meat or meat substitute and cook until there's no more pink. This is where the whole things starts to really smell like Hamburger Helper to me, except this recipe is easier, cheaper, and much, much better, thus demonstrating just how seriously ConAgra and Kraft have fooled the American public into believing that real food is only for rich people with a lot of free time on their hands.

Distribute the broken lasagna noodles over the top of the skillet.

Here's the only tricky part of the recipe: pour the can of diced tomatoes, juice and all, into a big measuring cup. Add water until there is one quart of liquid.***** Dump that into the skillet. Add the can of tomato sauce. Cover (if you don't have a proper lid you can use a cookie sheet or some aluminum foil) and bring the liquid to a simmer. Turn it down and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat. Stir in about a half cup of cheese, or more if you like cheese as much as I do, salt to taste and some pepper. Dollop the ricotta cheese around on top of the noodles in tablespoon-size dollops. Put the cover back on and let it sit for about five, ten minutes - as long as it takes the ricotta to get warm. Serve topped with a little more cheese and the chopped basil.

*Using additional vegetables could change the water content requirement so just be mindful of the possibility and cook as much water out of the veggies as you can.

**Tip! Buy a jar of that pre-chopped garlic. It's just fine for recipes in which garlic is not a main component and it saves time and money if you tend to buy heads of garlic and then throw them away after they start to sprout little garlic plants in your kitchen.

***It's impossible to break lasagna noodles into uniform two-inch pieces unless you are Christopher Kimball and you have your test kitchen perfectly calibrated to the proper humidity, temperature, and altitude for breaking lasagna noodles into perfect two-inch pieces so aim for two-inch pieces and then be okay with the random shards you produce.

****If you are cheese-grating averse you can buy real Parmesan cheese already grated. Just please god don't use that dried up weirdness in the green can.

*****This is where you need to adjust the water a little if you use a lot of watery vegetables.


Post a Comment

<< Home