This is the last time I will apologize for a lack of posts. I need to allow myself to take a break if work is crazy, or even life. And both have been crazy as of late. Let’s just say there may be a post soon about a brand new abode… 🙂
While I am dealing with this all, I figured a couple recipe posts were in order. I made meals last week, so I’ll be posting those, along with my comments, over the next couple of days. Sadly, I do not have the camera or photography knowledge that other food bloggers do, so I will post these with whatever photos I can find online. I hope you can just trust my words and perhaps even try the recipe yourself without *gasp* having ever seen what the stylized finished product *should* look like. All of these recipes are from the authors of Cooks Illustrated, either from the cookbook The Best 30-Minute Recipe or The Best Slow and Easy Recipes. These are amazing cookbooks, and I’m sure you’ll hear more and more about them as I continue to cook. (Did I mention I might have a new kitchen soon? With granite and a refrigerator with a freezer on the bottom? No? I didn’t think I’d ruined that surprise…whew.)
For the jarred tomato sauce, we like marinara, but you can use whatever type you like. Any brand of curly-edged lasagna noodles will work here, but do not use no-boil lasagna noodles. If the pasta is especially dry and shattery, you may need to add extra water to the skillet while the pasta cooks. If you can’t find meatloaf mix, use 1/2 pound 85 percent lean ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork. LIke it spicy? Increase the amount of red pepper flakes up to 1 teaspoon. To make things go even quicker, you can replace the mozzarella and Parmesan with 3/4 cup of shredded Italian cheese blend.
1 pound meatloaf mix (see note)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper
6 ounces curly-edged lasagna noodles (8 noodles broken into 2 inch pieces)
1 (26 ounce) jar tomato sauce, such as marinara (about 3 cups)
2 cups water
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded (see note)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (see note)
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
Making the minutes count:
Mince the garlic and measure out the pasta while the meat cooks.
- Cook and Drain Meat: Cook meat in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, breaking it into pieces with wooden spoon, until fat renders, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain meat and return it to skillet.
- Saute Aromatics: Stir in garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Simmer Lasagna Noodles: Sprinkle broken noodles into skillet, then pour in tomato sauce and water over top. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add cheese: Off heat, stir in half of mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot heaping tablespoons of ricotta over noodles, then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and let stand off heat until cheeses melt, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving.