When Big Guy and yours truly were in Oregon last weekend on a house hunting mission, there was no question we had to see our friend Lorraine from Figs & Artichokes fame. Being a consummate foodie and "sista' from anotha' motha'" that she is, we love spending time with her and her family.
Being much more in the Christmas spirit than anyone here in JBug's Kitchen, she thoughtfully gifted us with the Oregonian Cookbook, Best Recipes from FoodDay by Katherine Miller. A fabulous book loaded with incredible things, I've read it twice cover to cover and can't wait to make every single dish in it.
The adventure began last night with this Skillet Lasagna. A very fast, incredibly flavorful combination of all the things that make traditional lasagna so delicious, this version includes sauteed Italian sausage, red peppers, lots of garlic and jarred marinara sauce. Lasagna noodles are broken into the mixture and simmered for a mere 20 minutes until they're perfectly cooked then topped with lots of cheese and dabs of ricotta.
Naturally I made a few subtle changes by using hot Italian sausage, more garlic, finely chopped onion and dried Italian seasoning in place of fresh basil because it is the middle of winter after all and who on earth wants to spend the fortune they're currently asking for the fresh stuff.
The verdict? Delicious, soul satisfying flavor with oeey gooey cheesy goodness that tastes just like traditional lasagna but without all the fuss and bother. You absolutely HAVE to make this one never mind the next time you're at the grocery store, promise me you'll thumb your nose when you go by the aisle that holds the packaged ground beef "helper" kinda' boxes many of us have seen advertised but of course never admit to using ourselves. Rest assured after you've tried this recipe, you won't be buying it ever again. From my lips to your ear...well, uh, you know what I mean!
Skillet Lasagna (from JBug’s Kitchen adapted from The Oregonian Cookbook)
1 pound Italian sausage (I used hot)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt & coarse ground black pepper
8 curly edged lasagna noodles broken into 2 inch pieces (do not use no boil noodles)
1 – 24 ounce jar Marinara sauce (I used Bertolli)
2 cups water
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
In a deep 12 inch skillet with a cover, sauté Italian sausage until no longer pink, crumbling sausage with a fork as it cooks. Add red pepper, onion and garlic and cook until vegetables are softened – about 5 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and a half teaspoon of salt and coarse ground black pepper. Add lasagna noodles, marinara sauce and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat to a hard simmer. Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. If mixture becomes too dry add a little more water. When noodles are cooked, sprinkle half the mozzarella on top. Dot with spoonful’s of ricotta and finish with the rest of the mozzarella and the parmesan cheese. Remove pan from heat, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes so cheese melts. Serves 6.
A year ago - Salmon with Crispy Horseradish Crust
Two year's ago - Honey Baked Chicken Drumsticks