Wednesday, August 5, 2009
This being the third lasagna recipe that I've posted on Krista's Kitchen, it's clear that I enjoy the big-noodled dish. Even when I was a little girl, my mom's lasagna was almost always my birthday dinner request. This lasagna is different from the previously posted American Lasagna and the Crock Pot Lasagna recipes because 1)It's made right in a skillet on your stove top and 2)It's meatless.
When I read the word "skillet" in the title of a recipe, I tend to think that it'll come together fast. Quick cooking, if you will. Well, not this time. There is a lot of chopping involved. And blending. And layering (Of course, it IS lasagna! Duh, Krista.) The fact that I started dinner much later than I intended and then burned the garlic and had to start over again, made the prep time on this seem especially long. I'm not telling you this to discourage you from making skillet lasagna...by all means, make it! It was completely delicious and cheesy and wonderful. Just plan this meal for a night when you've got an hour to spare in the kitchen.
Let's see what we'll need to create lasagna in a skillet: olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, basil, ricotta cheese, an egg, grated parmesan, lasagna noodles, a carrot, a zucchini, some baby spinach, and not pictured(because I was in a hurry and already knew that dinner would be late): fresh mozzarella, salt and pepper.
First, let's make the sauce. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute until golden. Helpful hint: this is not a good time to finish slicing the zucchini or to unload the last few cups from the top of your dishwasher. Attempting to multi-task is where I went astray and burned my garlic in the hot olive oil. Burned garlic is never good. Not. Ever. I had to peel and mince more garlic and start over. Finally I was ready to add the tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. You want to cook until saucy, about 5 minutes. Then transfer to a blender and puree. Here is where an immersion blender would really come in handy. Boy would I love to have one of those. No need to take your blender apart and wash each little piece. Nope. Just stick a Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blenderin there and you're just one little whirrrrr away from perfect, less-mess sauce. Since I don't own an immersion blender or even a regular blender since mine made it's exit in a blaze of glory sometime in the spring of 2008 AND my food processor was dirty AND I didn't feel like washing it...you know what I did? I took out my handheld mixer. Some of you know what's coming and you just smacked the heel of your hand to your forehead and said, "Krista, Krista, Krista. What are you doing!?" I moved the sauce to a bowl, flipped on my mixer and proceeded to splatter tomato all over my wall, toaster, and coffee maker. Stand back folks, I'm a professional! NOT!
Before we proceed, let's take inventory. Burned garlic? Check! Tomato splattered walls and appliances? Check! Hungry family? Check!
With no choice but to press on in the hopes that my family would actually eat dinner sometime before midnight, I carried on to the next step. Actually, I did have a choice and I feel that I exercised supreme self-control by not pouring a glass of wine and sneaking out to the deck with the cordless phone to hide from the hungry family and dial Dominoes for delivery. Nope, instead I combined the ricotta, the egg, parmesan, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of basil, with salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
I also used my vegetable peeler to slice the carrot and zucchini into ribbons.
With all of the slicing,dicing, and mixing behind, I'm finally ready to build a lasagna! Put a cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large skillet and place 2 noodles on top. Now, the recipe called for no-bake lasagna noodles, which is a little confusing to me. I've seen "oven ready" lasagna noodles that you don't have to boil ahead, but I've never seen "no bake". Did they mean fresh pasta? Hmm. I ended up just using regular lasagna noodles and cooking them according to the package directions. I cut the lasagna noodles in half, because they fit better in the skillet that way. So, that's four noodle halves per layer, for anyone taking notes.
Layer half of the carrot and zucchini on top; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with half of the spinach.
Now, drop half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the spinach. Top with a few pieces of mozzarella and drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce.
Repeat the layers, ending with noodles. Top with the remaining sauce and mozzarella. Cover and simmer until the lasagna is cooked and the cheese melts, 20 to 25 minutes.
Let the skillet rest off of the burner for a few minutes before slicing. Garnish with more parmesan and fresh herbs. Once we all sat down and tasted how good this lasagna turned out, my lingering crankiness over the challenges encountered while rushing to make dinner faded away. I was beginning to feel like I'd never seen the inside of a kitchen before! The highlight of my evening: I watched my picky kid shovelling this lasagna laden with tomato, carrot, zucchini, and spinach into her little mouth. "Mmmm, mommy! Good lasagna!" She didn't even stop to pick through the layers and complain about the veggies. She must have been really hungry...or this lasagna is just that good!
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Prep Time: 15 min Inactive Prep Time: hr min Cook Time: 30 min Level: Easy
Serves: 4 servings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, diced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
6 sheets no-bake lasagna noodles
1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons
3 1/2 cups baby spinach
1/3 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic; cook until golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until saucy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree. Return 1 cup of the sauce to the skillet and reduce the heat to low; reserve the remaining sauce.
Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, egg, parmesan, the remaining 3 tablespoons herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl.
Place 2 lasagna noodles over the sauce in the skillet. Layer half of the carrot and zucchini on top; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with half of the spinach, half of the ricotta mixture, a few pieces of mozzarella and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce. Repeat the layers, ending with noodles. Top with the remaining sauce and mozzarella. Cover and simmer until the lasagna is cooked and the cheese melts, 20 to 25 minutes.
Let rest for a few minutes before slicing. Garnish with more parmesan and fresh herbs.