Our new jobs here in Pittsburgh mean every day looks different. I like this; it means that I don’t get bored and that I’m able to work flexible hours which means I can fit in things like laundry, grocery shopping, Ina Garten, the gym and this website. It also means that sometimes work seeps right into dinner time. On weeknights like this, it pays to have an easy, no frills recipe up your sleeve so that no matter how tired you are, and no matter how much you’d rather pile in the car and go grab a burger, you can still get a healthy, homemade dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
This dish is the answer to nights like this. It has all the flavors of a traditional lasagna without all the fuss. And while sometimes there’s a call for fuss, like on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you have nothing else to do but simmer meat sauce on the stove all day, when you’re starving at 9pm on a Tuesday night, nobody has time for simmering.
Dig in! This is a “rustic” dish, which means that instead of being served in perfect squares, just pile it up in a bowl and enjoy. No fuss, remember?
Sprinkle the top with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil for serving.
The pasta keeps its texture because it finished cooking in the sauce, and the creamy, melty cheeses add a delightful richness throughout. The meat sauce is hearty and while it did not simmer on the stove all day, you’d never know.
The best part about this dish, aside from the cheese and the meat and the pasta and the cheese, is that it’s actually a pretty healthy meal. Half a pound of pasta for 6 servings, plus lean ground beef and only one layer of cheese rather than the usual 4 or 5 means that while this meal tastes indulgent, you can feel pretty good about it.
Oh, and it doesn’t take any longer than 30 minutes. Promise. Dinner is served, and it didn’t come out of a bag. Pat yourself on the back–I know I did!
Here’s the recipe.
The Easiest Skillet Lasagna (adapted from How Sweet It Is)
- 8 ounces lasagna sheets, broken into thirds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed or broken up with a spoon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim and was no worse for wear!)
- 4 ounces fresh ricotta cheese, sliced into rounds
- Fresh basil, chopped or torn
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add lasagna pieces and cook until they have about 2 minutes left to cook. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet add olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more. Add beef and cook until brown, breaking it up into pieces as you go.
- Once the meat is browned, add tomatoes, breaking up any large pieces with a spoon. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until pasta is ready.
- Add lasagna sheets to the sauce and carefully fold it together, making sure that the lasagna is evenly distributed and coated in the sauce. Dot the top with dollops of ricotta cheese, then top with mozzarella slices. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 minutes, until it is bubbly and the cheese is well toasted and golden brown. Remove from the oven, top with chopped basil, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.