I think cooks must be divided into two camps when it comes to Lasagna. Ya got all those that toss it together with no problem (and yeah, I’m jealous of them) and those that think like I do. I love it (who doesn’t) but it’s a production and then there’s always a mess. And let’s not forget about the amount of time that goes into it. First to make it then to bake it. Raise your hand if you’re with me, here! If you are, I have a solution: Fast Easy Skillet Lasagna!
Not only is this lasagna fast & easy (yeah, you might have gotten that from the name already, lol) but it really is a 30-minute one-pan meal. But best of all, it’s a 30-minute meal that doesn’t taste like it!
About Fast, Easy Skillet Lasagna:
This has everything your big pan of lasagna has! Besides all the flavor and none of the hassle, it has actual lasagna noodles, so it has all of that big, chewy texture we love. There are ground beef AND Italian sausage (if you want – you could use the ground beef or ground turkey, or ground chicken or all Italian sausage or whatever combo you want) and it has all the famous Italian spices you’d expect.
And then there’s the cheese. Shouldn’t cheese get it’s own paragraph, after all? There are Parmesan and mozzarella stirred in at the end but the big finale? Dollops of ricotta over the top, just as it’s finished, still distinct but a little melty and that makes this skillet lasagna oh so extra! I love that each bite can be just a little different, some with the melty ricotta, some with more…it just keeps it so interesting to eat and you can’t get that in a pan of lasagna!
I adapted this recipe I think from Cook’s Country, but maybe it was America’s Test Kitchen or Cook’s Illustrated. All those entities – all so confusing! I pretty much kept most of it the same but changed things up and streamlined them a little which made this an under 30-minute meal. They did have a really obnoxious amount of ricotta on top of the lasagne in the original recipe; I cut that back, but you can use your own judgment. Sometimes more IS more but sometimes more IS just really too much!
Making Fast, Easy Skillet Lasagna:
This really is a super fast recipe. Start out with the onions and beef/Italian sausage or whatever you are using and once they’re done, drain if you need to. Drop in the spices and the garlic and cook for a minute. Make sure to have your noodles broken up and your tomatoes ready (you’ll see the weirdness with the tomatoes) and when the meat is brown, top it with the noodles, then the tomato/water mixture and then the tomato sauce, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
I’ve always meant to measure how much water needs to be added to the tomatoes so I could include it here but I always seem to forget! The recipe calls to put the diced tomatoes and their juices into a large measuring cup and add enough water to make one quart. That’s the weirdness but the lasagna will turn out beautifully!
The key when simmering is to trust the process. Just bring the skillet to a simmer and adjust it to low and let it go. If you need to turn the mixture, be ultra-gentle; use a spatula and scoop it up in a couple of places and just turn it over, but if you have a good pan that cooks evenly and regulates the temperature well, you won’t even have to mess with it.
Once the lasagne is done, comes the fun part. You’ll stir in the cheeses (Mozz and Parm) and it doesn’t seem like much but it’s really just the right amount, then add the Ricotta. Cover so it all gets melty and serve, garnished with basil if you have it. If you don’t it’s fun to sprinkle little drops of pesto on top, too. If you have that!
There are two things that aren’t in the actual recipe that I like to do. For one, use a really good Italian seasoning, it makes all the difference and I like to personalize it a bit with very own favorite Italian Herb Blend. It makes me feel like a boss, lol! The other is that I like some texture from the diced tomatoes (the do keep the noodles from just melding together since there’s no layering of cheese/sauce like regular lasagna) but I don’t like too many and it makes the lasagna feel too chunky for me. I toss about half of them in the blender and pulse it. I know it’s an extra step and something to wash, but I like it better that way.
I have yet to try this but I can’t help but wonder if this could be done by shortcutting the recipe with jarred pasta sauce if it’s measured out with the additional water to make one quart. If you do try it, let me know!Print
Fast, Easy Skillet Lasagna
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Pasta Main Meal
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 pound of lean ground beef or a mixture of beef and Italian sausage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, or to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces lasagna noodles broken into 2” pieces
- 1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese plus a little extra for serving
- 1/2 cup Ricotta
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced thinly
Heat oil in a large skillet, add onions, the ground beef or mixture of ground beef & Italian sausage and cook until meat is browned and onions are tender. Drain if necessary. Add the salt. red pepper, black pepper, and Italian seasoning and the garlic cook for another minute, stirring until mixture is fragrant.
While the meat is cooking, pour the canned diced tomatoes and their juice into a one-quart (four cup) measuring cup. Add water to bring the level up to one quart. Set aside.
Once the meat is cooked, scatter broken noodles across the top but do not stir. Pour the quart of diced tomato/water mixture and the tomato sauce over the top of the noodles. Again, do not stir. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and maintain simmer, stirring once by very gently scooping up the noodles with a spatula and turning. Simmer until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasonings and stir in the shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Dot with spoonfuls of Ricotta, cover and let sit off heat for three to five minutes until cheese is warm and melty. Sprinkle with basil and serve from the pan with a little extra Parmesan.
Keywords: 30 or Under, Bargain Meal of the Week, Beef, canned tomatoes, Cheese, Ground Beef, Italian, Italian sausage, lasagna, Mozzarella, parmesan, Pasta, Pork, Ricotta, Tomatoes