Sunday Dinner for the Lazy – Skillet Lasagna

It was Sunday at 4pm. Oliver and I had just finished watching “Wreck It Ralph” and I realized I needed to figure out dinner as my family was coming. Sunday is the day I get to do any cooking I want, like REALLY get into it and cook for hours! Or not.

I had a fantastic weekend, that seems to play into the laziness of my Sunday attitude. Dinner out with girlfriends at one of my favorite new Seattle restaurants on Friday night, Westward. Seriously, check. it. out. Pre-dinner cocktails on the not-too-chilly fall evening around the oyster shell fire pit. The view of downtown Seattle is unlike any other restaurant in the city. We moved inside for a meal of fried squid, Moroccan fish stew, wood roasted chicken, potatoes cooked in the fire and fried brussels sprouts. Oh, there were also cocktails and wine too. Um, who doesn’t want to have a few “Champers Cocktails” – sparkling wine with apricot sage liqueur?? We finished with the butterscotch pots-de-creme and shortbread cookies. AMAZING.

(all pics are courtesy of Westward’s lovely website)

Saturday night was a friend’s surprise birthday party and we watched the Huskies lose to Stanford. Whatever. The party sure was fun! Oliver ran around with about 20 kids and the adults ate tailgate food and drank wine and beer out of purple solo cups. My kinda night.

OK, I digress, but my super fun weekend is how I got to my lazy Sunday dinner. I am always a little hesitant to try a new recipe, but when I get the recommendation from my friend Nicole, that’s good enough for me. She passed it along last week after making for her family and loving it – this seemed like the perfectly hearty and delish Sunday dinner. She was right. We ran to the store to pick up groceries at 4 and dinner was on the table by 6. Not too shabby for what ended up to be a really good meal.

Skillet Lasagna

Recipe adapted from “Keepers” by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion (Rodale Books)

Makes 6 Servings; Start to finish: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed (I used Iserno’s Italian chicken sausage in the 1 pound tube)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Red-pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Two 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (I used 1 can whole peeled, 1 can crushed – both were San Marzano)
  • 1 basil sprig, plus a handful of basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 9-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (I used mascarpone)
  • ½ pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced and patted dry

Directions

  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 mozzarella 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.

I served with simple roasted broccoli and this was a winner, flavorful, not too heavy, and everyone loved including Oliver. I have a little bit left over for my dinner tonight…YAY! I will definitely be making this again. Thanks Nicole!!

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