When I discovered this whole “skillet lasagna” thing I was instantly pissed.
I grew up eating amazing lasagna cooked by my Italian grandmother and I know from experience that that shit takes all. Damn. Day.
So it bothered me a lot that tons of random food bloggers were shilling their shitty recipes as the real thing that could be “made in half an hour on a busy weeknight in a skillet, no baking required.”
And what’s worse, a lot of these recipes weren’t even lasagna, skillet or otherwise. Take this godawful chicken concoction from the Pioneer Woman.
It uses farfalle! Bowtie pasta! Last time I checked, lasagna actually had to be made with wide flat (lasagna) noodles. As in, that’s what’s in the definition.
Also, I feel like whoever took this picture understood JUST how unappetizing this damn things looks. It’s like when they used to smear vasseline over the camera to hide the wrinkling faces of superstars. Ugh.
Look, I made this thing, and I tasted it and IT WAS STRAIGHT UP BLAND AND NASTY.
I wanted to this recipe for our fix your stupid food series of youtube videos, but I didn’t think it could be fixed. I didn’t think skillet lasagna was an actual thing that could be done well enough to actually taste, smell and feel like real baked lasagna.
Then I talked to my mom and she was like “you don’t think Nana could have figured this out? If you asked her for lasagna she wouldn’t let a time crunch stop her.”
She was, of course, right. So I set out to find out if I could pull it off too.
And what do you know. It is possible. You can freaking have 80% of what you’re craving from lasagna in around 25-38 minutes ( I tested this recipe like, 5 times and 25 minutes was the fastest I did it and 38 minutes was the slowest.)
There are caveats. You can’t use as much sauce as usual because the noodles just won’t have the time they need to soak it all up. It’ll pool in the bottom of the skillet and be gross. Also, you have to pre-cook your noodles ALL THEWAY DONE. Al dente won’t do it. They just don’t have time to get nice and melt-in-your-mouth in the pan in 30 minutes.
The biggest surprise I had here, aside from the fact that I ended up liking it at all, was that the meat sauce was AMAZING despite not being simmered for like, 8 hours. A lot of this was due to the fact that I buy good jar sauce, but a lot was also due to the fact that I’m a freaking good cook.
And so can you be. Here’s how:
Skillet Lasagna Recipe That Doesn’t SuckCourse: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
No lasagna that only takes 30 minutes is going to be as good as Nana’s, but this’ll get you like, 90% of the way there.
It’s got the layers, it’s got the caramelized cheese, it’s got the fantastic ragu. So make it and put it in your face!
2 tbsp olive oil
230 g (1/2 lb) ground pork (fatty is better!)
230 g (1/2 lb) ground beef
Salt, to taste*
115 g (1/2 cup) onion, minced
20 g (about 1oz) garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups jar tomato sauce
227 g (8 oz) whole milk ricotta
113 g. provolone, grated
113 g. fresh mozzarella, chopped
340 g (12 oz) lasagna noodles, broken in pieces, boiled to tender and drained thoroughly
- Preheat your broiler on it’s highest setting
- Heat oil on medium high until shimmering
- Add beef and pork and brown, mushing the meat down constantly to break it into the smallest pieces possible
- Add salt to taste
- Clear a space in the center of your pan and add the onions and garlic. Cover and sauté for 2 minutes until tender. Mix with the meat and sauté another minute
- Add basil, parsley, oregano, and red pepper flakes and pasta sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes. The meat should be tender and the sauce should be slightly thickened.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Remove 3/4 of the sauce and spread the remainder across the bottom of the pan evenly.
- Lay a single layer of pre-boiled noodles across the bottom of the pan. it doesn’t have to be neat or perfect. It just needs to cover the sauce.*
- Spoon about 1/4 of the ricotta in daubs over the noodles
- Spread a handful of shredded provolone over the noodles
- Spread a handful of fresh mozzarella pieces across the noodles.
- Spread around 1/4 of your reserved meat sauce over the cheese
- Repeat steps 8-12 until you are out of noodles. Make sure you still have enough shredded provolone to cover the top of the pasta. If you’ve run out of sauce by this point, it’s totally ok!
- Let everything simmer together for 3 minutes.
- Place your pan about 2 inches under the broiler and broil for 3 minutes or until cheese is browned
- For best results, let the lasagna rest for 5 minutes before serving, but who am I kidding. Dig in.
- *Remember your jar marinara sauce will also have salt. Go easy on the salt here, but you need it or the meet will be bland when you bite into it.
- **It REALLY doesn’t matter how this looks. No one will notice, and you won’t end up with perfect layers like in a baked lasagna. But you will end up with layers. And that’s what matters.