Sunday, December 09, 2012

70's Flashback: Skillet Lasagna

Dear readers of a certain age (40 or above), do you remember Hunt's Skillet Lasagna? My mom was a single, working mother, so she often turned to such packaged convenience foods during the work week to get a quick dinner on the table.And the skillet lasagna, with its little packet of a ricotta cheese like substance that I alway got to squeeze on top, was my favorite. Sadly, they don't make it anymore (and even if they did, it probably wouldn't hold the same appeal as it did for my childhood palate), but I have a recipe that produces something much better--all the flavors of lasagna without all the fuss, and easy enough to throw together on a weeknight! (You're welcome.)

Skillet Lasagna
(adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Pasta Revolution and from the blog, Pink Parsley)
Serves 4 to 6

3 (15 oz.) cans petit diced tomatoes, with juices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes (I omitted this because I used hot Italian sausage)
3/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 lb. Italian sausage, crumbled (or ground beef, if you prefer)
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths (or better yet, 10 oz. pantacce pasta)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil (optional)

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the 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 sausage or 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 and their juice over the top. Stir and cover. Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender, 20-24 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 (I had mine on 450 degreees).

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, 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh basil (if using), and serve.


Anonymous said...

This does look good, but you aren't a diehard skillet lasagne fan if you think this could be as good or better. What I wouldn't give for some of that wonderful (easy!) lasagne with pasta and seasoned ricotta of my favorite food memories of the 70's mmmm!

Anonymous said...

We totally agree!! And skillet stroganoff too.

Unknown said...

I loved this stuff and wish I could copy it.

Anonymous said...

This was my and my brothers' first choice for a camping meal back in the day.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know what the seasoning was that was in the ricotta mixture ?

Anonymous said...

My roommate and I when university students would make this for boyfriends and pass it off as homemade. It was fabulous! Why don’t they bring it back?

Anonymous said...

I loved this stuff, especially that ricotta!

Anonymous said...

Faith Sumner here! Took forever to find this site. Bring it BACK!!!!