An ooey-gooey cheesy lasagna on a weeknight? Some Mondays we have trouble just boiling water. But this recipe from Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion’s new book, Keepers, delivers one of the most delicious pasta dishes you can make in an hour...and in one dish. Whereas most lasagnas involve a great deal of time and numerous pots and pans, their version can be whipped up in a single skillet. Better yet, their shortcuts don’t diminish the integrity of the classic Italian dish. We’re happy to report this supper is every bit as wonderful as the meaty, cheesy original.
Recipe adapted from "Keepers" by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion (Rodale Books)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Two 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 basil sprig, plus a handful of basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 9-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles (such as Barilla brand)
4 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
½ pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced and patted dry
1. In a large lidded high-sided skillet with a 3-quart capacity set over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausages and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat, until browned, about 4 minutes. Leaving as much oil in the skillet as possible, transfer the sausage to a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion, garlic and a pinch of red-pepper flakes to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano and the tomatoes and their juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands or a potato masher. Add the reserved sausage and any juices and the basil sprig. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Check the seasonings (it should be a little salty) and remove and discard the basil sprig.
3. Break half the lasagna noodles in half crosswise (it’s fine if smaller pieces break off) and push each piece into the sauce under the sausage, distributing them evenly throughout the pan. Break the remaining noodles in half and distribute them evenly over the sauce, then push down on them with the back of a spoon to submerge them. Cover the pan and gently simmer (raising the heat a little, if needed) until the noodles are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 12 minutes.
4. Dollop the mascarpone over the lasagna and swirl it into the sauce. Top with the mozarella and gently simmer, covered, until the mozzarella melts, about 2 minutes.
5. Remove the skillet from the heat and top the lasagna with the basil leaves, tearing any large leaves into smaller pieces. Let the lasagna rest, uncovered, for about 10 minutes before serving.
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Check out more inspired weeknight meals from Keepers.
This recipe suggests cooking the lasagna in a high-sided skillet with a three-quart capacity. We’re fans of this All-Clad pan sold through Williams-Sonoma.