You’re going to fall in love with this gorgeously simple easy weeknight skillet lasagna, and I already know it’ll become a family favorite in your household. As much as I love lasagna, sometimes the thought of making one gives me anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I really do love making the big shebang version, but sometimes I just want it fast. I’m a huge fan of making things from scratch, but nobody has time for that all of the time. This is the perfect recipe for those of you who just want some damn good lasagna, fast and asaptually.
I’m not being paid to say this, but I really love Rao’s Homemade sauces so much. As a chef and home-cook, I’m pretty picky about pre-made things. I don’t want to buy a sauce I have to spend half the time doctoring up just to make it taste better. You are free to use any brand you prefer, but trust me — Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce is legit. They’re the reason my cheesy meatball sub dip recipe is so amazing. It’s pretty pricey compared to its lesser counterparts, but it’s soooo worth it. You can often find it on sale at pretty much every retailer, but I’ve found it at Walmart consistently under $7/jar.
This recipe is insanely easy, and very customizable. You can use ground beef, or turkey, or chicken. Or, use Italian sausage instead. Although it’s a quick and easy weeknight lasagna, you aren’t forced to use lasagna noodles. You can use any pasta you want. The only thing I recommend you keep true to the recipe are the ingredient amounts — things can get funky otherwise. For example, you don’t want to add a whole pound of pasta to this because it will be too much. Whatever kind of pasta you end up using, just use half the box — which is roughly 8 ounces.
Keep it somewhat vegetarian and use mushrooms instead of ground meat. The choice is yours. Don’t have balsamic vinegar? Shame on you! Get some, please. But if you don’t have it, it won’t ruin the recipe. Just leave it out.
How to make Skillet Lasagna
Here’s most of the ingredients.
Drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
Break up the meat with a wooden spoon until it’s in small pieces.
While the meat is still pink, season it with crushed red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper.
When it’s almost fully browned, add the diced onion. Cook that for about 3 minutes to distribute.
Cook everything down until the onions are softened, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Pour in some balsamic vinegar, about 3 tablespoons. Stir it around good.
Let the balsamic cook down for about a minute or two, then add the garlic.
Cook the garlic for about a minute to take the raw edge off.
Pour in your favorite high quality marinara sauce. I’m using Rao’s. In my opinion, it’s the best on the market and needs no doctoring.
Add 1 cup of water to the jar and shake it up to loosen any leftover sauce, pour that water into the skillet. You need this extra moisture to help cook the pasta thru.
Stir everything around until it’s evenly combined.
Add the broken lasagna noodles.
Make sure the lasagna pieces are pushed into the meat sauce and submerged.
Cover it up and let it simmer over medium-low or low heat for about 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure the pasta isn’t sticking together or the moisture isn’t evaporating too quickly before the pasta is tender.
Almost ready, about 5 more minutes. If at any point you need to add more water, do so in 1/3 cup increments.
Pasta is perfectly al dente! The consistency is perfect, not too wet and not too dry.
Reduce the heat to LOW, and sprinkle the remaining 4 ounces of mozzarella in a single layer.
Dollop the ricotta mixture all over the surface of the dish. Cover this up and let the cheese melt and ooze into the nooks and crannies, about 8 to 10 minutes over low heat.
You could eat it like this, or if you want a little color, pop this under the broiler for about 5 minutes to get bubbly and slightly charred.
After my gooey cheese melted, I slid my skillet under a hot broiler to let it get bubbly and slightly toasty on top. Just personal preference. Feel free to do the same!
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade (rolled and thinly sliced)
Pinch sea salt and black pepper
You will need a large (12-inch) deep-sided skillet for this recipe, preferably one that’s oven-safe.
For the ricotta mixture: Blend everything together until smooth and evenly combined. Set aside.
Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and break it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. While the meat is still pink, season with crushed red pepper flakes, a big pinch of kosher salt, and black pepper. Continue to cook the meat until about 80% browned, then stir in the diced onions.
Season the mixture with granulated garlic, and onion powder and continue cooking until the onions are softened and the meat is fully browned, about 5 minutes.
Pour in the balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine. Let the balsamic vinegar cook down for about 2 minutes, then stir in the garlic for 1 minute.
Pour the marinara sauce over the beef mixture. Add 1 cup of water to the marinara jar and shake to loosen any leftover sauce, then pour it into the beef mixture. Stir to combine.
Toss in the broken lasagna noodles, and push them into the mixture to ensure they’re submerged. Cover the skillet and allow the noodles to cook and soften, about 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking together. If at any point you need to add additional water, do so in 1/3 cup increments.
Once the pasta is tender, give it a taste and adjust seasoning if needed (but if you use Rao’s, you most likely won’t need to adjust).
Reduce the heat to low, and layer the remaining mozzarella cheese over the pasta. Dollop the ricotta mixture all over the top of the pasta and cover with a lid. Let the ricotta cheese mixture cook and melt for about 6 to 8 minutes.
If you’d like to finish this under the broiler to get the top toasty and spotty, feel free to do so. Otherwise, you’re all done! Garnish with the remaining fresh parsley and basil. Let this cool for about 10 minutes, then serve.
You can use ground turkey, pork, or chicken for this recipe. You can also use Italian sausage of any variety here. Also, swap out the meat entirely for mushrooms if you prefer.
As for jarred marinara sauce, you can use any brand, but I highly recommend Rao’s Homemade Marinara. Like, seriously.
I’m using a shorter style curly lasagna noodle, which is exactly half a pound. If you’re using longer noodles, just make sure you’re using exactly half a pound.
Keywords: pasta, lasagna, easy skillet lasagna
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