My stomach hasn't quite figured out that feeding time has been pushed back an hour, though. Monday night, I came home famished. I wanted to eat-- now. That's when Skillet Dinners can be a lifesaver.
I've made many versions of Skillet Lasagna, over the years. Usually, it involves browning ground beef, adding bottled spaghetti sauce, water and broken lasagna noodles. Then, you add some ricotta cheese and dinner is ready. Of course, there's the slow cooker version, that uses "no boil" lasagna noodles and bottled spaghetti sauce. Good, but ho-hum.
Could America's Test Kitchen develop a Skillet recipe, that doesn't use bottled spaghetti sauce? I watched the video and read the recipe. The recipe seemed simple enough. The ingredient list isn't too complicated, either: A blend of ground beef and pork (or an unseasoned meatloaf mix), ten regular lasagna noodles, a large can of diced tomatoes, a small can of tomato sauce, onion, garlic and ricotta cheese.
I added some red pepper flakes into the meat mixture and then evenly spread out the broken lasagna pieces (about 2" or 3" long)
Somehow, I felt that there needed to be a little more seasoning, so I added a generous tablespoon of Italian Seasoning (that I mix up, myself). I gently pushed around the noodles to make sure they were covered in liquid-- I had to add just a little bit more water to accomplish that.
CHALLENGE: I'm not gonna lie-- I had a bit of a soupy lasagna and I was not going to stand for that! With the lid off, I gave this ten more minutes of cooking time-- hoping the liquid would reduce. At last, the noodles seemed perfectly al dente, but I still had too much liquid. I placed the lid back on the skillet, and then carefully drained most of the liquid down the sink.
3 minutes under the broiler did the trick. Sadly, our garden basil is finished, or I would have added plenty of it.
TASTING NOTES: I have to pat myself on the back, for adding more seasoning to the recipe. The Italian seasoning kicked up the flavor, and I really liked that I increased the red pepper flakes from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon. The sausage gave the meat filling a great texture, too. The ricotta and Four-Cheese blend made this skillet lasagna a satisfying pasta dinner. The next day, the lasagna tasted even better, when reheated. My son raved about it, and I admit that I enjoyed noshing on some leftovers during my lunch break. I applaud America's Test Kitchen for creating a recipe that doesn't need bottled spaghetti sauce-- and I always have diced tomatoes and tomato sauce on hand. However, ATK, you need to bump up the seasoning a whole lot more-- or this could be on the bland side.
Oh, and I think "I'm good" for skillet recipes for a while. I'm hankering for a good pot roast or braised brisket-- just as soon as we get our first good rainfall of the season. It's been in the 80's for the last few days. I do appreciate the sunshine, but I'm ready to hear the crackling of a roaring fire and making some hot chocolate.
A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.