So I've been holding out on you guys... I have a lot going on right now (all good things!), one of which is that we're moving! If all goes according to plan, we'll be closing on our new house at the end of this month. Woot! As excited as I am to have a big backyard and a bigger kitchen, that comes with a price - cleaning and packing up our current house - and our lives for the last 9 years. As you might could imagine, this will be no small feat with two small children underfoot. Caroline loves to "help" me pack, which roughly translates to "ooooh look I found my favorite toy! " (some random ball that she hasn't touched for 2 years) and "Can I play with this book of 2000 stickers that you're trying to pack? I promise not to make a mess!"
So needless to say, the less I have to pack and take with us, the better. Which brings us to this lasagna. I'm trying to pare down my pantry, fridge, and freezer. The less we have, the less we have to pack or throw away. I always seem to have several boxes of half-empty pasta, so this made the perfect dinner to use those up. I actually did have some partially full boxes of lasagna noodles, but really any small or medium pasta would work well here.
The beauty of this dish is that it really does taste like lasagna, but it comes together in right around half an hour and is completely cooked one skillet. Joey even ventured to say that he likes it better than traditional lasagna.
Peeled tomatoes are pulsed in a food processor to form the tomato sauce - but I think you could use crushed tomatoes and still have great results. Onion and ground beef are then sautéed, flavored with some garlic, herbs, and spices, and the noodles and tomato sauce are added. They are simmered on the stovetop, absorbing all the tomato-goodness, leaving you with a super flavorful dish. And THEN, ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella are stirred in, MORE cheese is sprinkled over the top, and a quick trip under the broiler leaves you with the melty, gooey top that is a necessity to any lasagna.
I'll most definitely be making this dish in our new house time and time again. It has quite easily become a family staple.
adapted from America's Test Kitchen, Pasta Revolution
serves 4 to 6
- 3 (14.5 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes (or 1.5 28 oz cans)
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 3/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 1 lb ground sirloin
- 10 (curly-edged) lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (part-skim is fine)
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh basil
Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until coarsely ground and no large pieces remain, about 12 pulses.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add th onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook, stirring often and using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, about 3 to 5 minutes, or until it's no longer pink.
Scatter the pasta in the skillet, then pour the tomatoes over the top. Stir, increase the heat to medium-high, and cover. Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender, 20 minutes (if you don't stir it, the pasta will clump together and stick to the bottom and sides of the skillet).
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.
Remove the skillet from heat, and stir in half the mozzarella and parmesan, and 1/4 cup of the ricotta. Dot the remaining ricotta over the noodles in tablespoons, then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Transfer to the oven and broil until the cheese melts and is starting to brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with basil, and serve.