The recipe describes itself as a skillet lasagna, and I can understand the designation, but to me this is more an Uptown American Chop Suey (or Goulash, depending on where you live). I think I just like to see my lasagna in nice layers, cut in even squares, smiles. Whatever you call it, it is good, filling, and makes enough to feed a small community.
What drew me to this recipe is that the raw pasta is cooked in the juice from the diced tomatoes. The tomato juice was absorbed into the pasta as it cooked, giving additional flavor and nutrition, no tomato juice tossed down the drain, no waste. I loved the big pieces of tomato in this. The other surprise for me was the red pepper flakes. I don't know if I've ever used red pepper flakes in a tomato sauce, but they added a bit of welcomed heat and flavor.
Cook's Country Skillet Lasagna(Food.com )
1 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes plus enough water to make one quart
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
salt to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound ground beef **
10 curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces **
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce **
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided
ground black pepper to taste
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Pour tomatoes with their juices into 1 quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.
Recipe says this serves 6, but I think it could easily serve 8, especially if you're serving with a nice salad and garlic bread.
**Okay, now my changes. I used 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage (skins removed and meat broken up; I think the sausage adds a lot of nice flavor.). I didn't have lasagna noodles but I did have bow ties. I had about half a box left so I used whatever was remaining in the box. I didn't have tomato sauce, so I substituted with 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, which, to me, gave a deeper tomato flavor, as well as helped to thicken the sauce, and it's a substitution I will do when I make this again.