I seldom eat lasagna, though I do enjoy it. Like cheesecake or ice cream, I find it’s best eaten infrequently and with restraint. So when I do indulge, I don’t want the decadent pasta dish to be just ho-hum. It’s got to be splendid!
Recently a Bon Appetit recipe for Weekend Skillet Lasagna rolled onto my screen. It had the usual layers of meat sauce, noodles and cheeses. It also called for a package of frozen spinach to go into the ricotta mixture, perhaps to assuage the guilt of people like me. My old and ever-reliable lasagna recipe calls for chopped parsley in the mixture, but this one upped the green content and dropped the eggs, (figuratively speaking, that is).
By using Rao Marinara Sauce, you get a superb sauce with just a twist of the lid. Then, instead of being layered in an elongated dish, the lasagna went into a cast iron skillet before being baked.
Diagramming the Recipe
While the dish comes together easily, the recipe reads like the instructions for wiring an electrical panel. Far too wordy. I finally “diagrammed” the recipe, the way we used to unravel a complicated sentence in high school English class.
I drew a series of layers, starting with the sauce and the amount required. Then I added more layers for the noodles, cheeses, repeated layers, and concluding one. I’ll keep the sketch at the bottom of my recipe printout for the next time I make the dish. I’ve done this before with layered casseroles and found it much easier to follow.
As I pondered the roundness of this dish, it occurred to me that most any lasagna recipe would work in the 10″-12″ skillet format.
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 12 oz. lasagna noodles
- 20 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 2 cups ricotta (16 ounces)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 ounces), plus more for serving
- 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef
- Two 24 oz. jars Rao’s Homemade Marinara sauce
- 8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, grated
Heat oil in a 10-inch, high-sided, ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add beef and season with salt and pepper; break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon and cook, turning a few times, until meat is browned, about 8 minutes.
Drain excess fat from skillet and scrape browned beef into a large heatproof bowl. Set aside 1 ½ cups sauce and stir the remaining marinara into the bowl with browned beef.
Have a Cup of Tea Here and Continue . . .
Using the same skillet, (do not return to the heat) spread about 1 cup of the sauce mixture in a thin layer at bottom of skillet. Arrange a third of the noodles over the sauce, breaking the noodles up to fit if necessary, and spread half of the remaining sauce mixture over the noodles.
Spread on half the spinach-ricotta mixture and sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella. Repeat layering one time with another third of the noodles, the remaining half of the meat sauce mixture, the remaining half of the spinach-ricotta and another third of the mozzarella.
Top lasagna with remaining third of the noodles. Spread atop that reserved marinara sauce you earlier set aside. Sprinkle with remaining third of the mozzarella. Bake lasagna until golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Cut leftovers into slices and wrap in plastic to freeze. Rewarm individual slices in microwave by first defrosting and then heating on high for 2-3 minutes.