The. Best. Idea. Ever.
I seriously love lasagna but could never figure out why so much time must be spent layering its components and fussing about broken noodles and generally coddling a rather time-consuming casserole when all you do to serve it is dig into the beautifully constructed layers and then dump them unceremoniously onto a plate. In my family, lasagna was such a favorite that my mom would spend three hours making it and it would disappear in under thirty minutes. Come on, people. We can do better than this. If all the layers and flavors blend together when you serve and eat lasagna anyway — and that blend, after all, is what makes lasagna delicious — surely we can skip a step (or five) and come up with something a little better.
Meet Skillet Lasagna. Some might argue that it is less esthetically pleasing, given the absence of long, lovely layers, but…. just look:
Who can argue with the creaminess of the ricotta, the spiciness of the sausage, the sweet aroma of tomato and basil? I think, personally, that it’s beautiful.
To be honest, this dish still did take a little longer to make than I usually spend on dinner (although it was less than an hour). Nevertheless, it was exactly the kind of meal that I love to prepare — the fantastic ingredients had me convinced from the start that the meal was going to be a success, so all I had to to was chop, combine, and occasionally stir. There was plenty of down time when I could walk away and do something else, and since there was no rush to get dinner on the table, I could just enjoy the process of knowing that a really nice meal was coming together. That sensation is one of the most rewarding aspects of cooking — it’s so creative, both in the imaginative sense as well as the sense in which each preparation takes raw components that may or may not be exciting on their own and creates something totally new and inspiring out of them. What other hobby lets you create something so pleasing and satisfying out of practically nothing?
This was another recipe from Ezra Pound Cake……. get on over there for the full recipe! The only change I made was to use 1/2 lb ground beef and 1/2 pound spicy italian sausage. I wouldn’t use a full pound of the sausage, since my version had plenty of sausage flavor and plenty of spice, as well. I think the dish would be overwhelmed by a higher proportion of flavored meat. Perhaps a mix of spicy and sweet sausage would work… basically, you can’t lose with this recipe!