The late fall/early winter time heading into the holidays can be so incredibly hectic. Many days during this time of year I find myself coming home craving comfort food in a major way, but being so exhausted with work, life stressors, etc. that I barely have the energy to cook much of anything. However, even on those nights I’m pretty adamant about making a meal at home. This is one of those recipes that is great to have in your repertoire because it is the comfort food I crave but comes together quickly with ingredients I can usually round up in our fridge/pantry. (Seriously, how many half boxes of lasagna noodles do you have? Inexplicably, I always have at least three.)
Though the original version doesn’t include any veggies, you certainly can if you like. I’ve made it with mushrooms and spinach, and Tara made a lovely version with eggplant. Our kids go crazy for this dinner! Make use of what you have in this tasty one-dish meal, and be sure to spend the 20-some minutes while it cooks decompressing with your beverage of choice.
Yield: about 6 servings
1½ (28 0z.) cans whole peeled tomatoes, with juices
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
½ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
¾ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 lb. Italian sausage, crumbled
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup ricotta cheese
3 tbsp. minced fresh basil (optional)
Coarsely chop the tomatoes. (Alternatively, pulse in the bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped).
Heat the oil in a large cast iron (or non-stick) skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and some pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5-7 minutes. Mix in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the Italian sausage to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Scatter the lasagna noodles in the skillet and pour the tomatoes with their juices over the top. Increase the heat to medium-high and cover. Let cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender, about 20-24 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. When the pasta is tender, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in half of the mozzarella and Parmesan, and ¼ cup of the ricotta. Dot the remaining ricotta over the top, then layer with the remaining shredded cheeses in an even layer. Transfer to the oven and broil until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil and serve.