The Only Lasagna Recipe I Need From Now On

All the flavor and none of the fuss.

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Lasagna is one of my go-to comfort foods, but stacking all the layers and enduring the extended bake time doesn't exactly make it an ideal weeknight recipe. While it’s notoriously a great make-ahead dish, I never have the foresight to prepare one in advance. Enter the Beefy Skillet Lasagna. The cheesy, saucy one-pan lasagna has all the flavor of the classic, but is ready in less time than it takes to bake a traditional lasagna.

Sure, we took a few liberties with the classic recipe to ensure this version is on the table in under 40 minutes (i.e.jarred sauce), but if you use great prepared products, you won’t taste the difference. (I'm partial to Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce, by the way). 

Beefy skillet lasagna in cast iron

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Lydia Purcell; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Why I Love This Recipe

There are a few clever steps that make this skillet lasagna such a delicious recipe. Cooking the noodles in the sauce is not only a smart way to avoid washing another dish, but the noodles absorb the flavorful sauce instead of just salt water.

That sauce, by the way, is added after browning the meat, meaning we don’t waste any of the flavor developed on the bottom of the pan while browning it. This, plus additional flavor from the fennel seeds and crushed red pepper (which I personally double, and if you like heat, you should too), helps disguise any trace that you started with a jarred sauce. 

Fun Additions

If you’re anything like me, you can’t leave a good enough recipe alone. You’re always looking for a way to customize it, and this recipe is highly adaptable. As mentioned before, I like things spicy, so I sometimes add jarred calabrian chiles to the sauce to give the dish an Arrabiata-like flavor. I also often add jarred olives and capers for a Puttanesca rendition.

Aside from doctoring the sauce, I like to fold in (fresh or frozen) veggies I have on hand, often Swiss chard or zucchini. Mushrooms can be browned and used to replace the meat, if you need or want a meatless main dish. Frozen spinach is also great folded into the ricotta mixture, just make sure to remove all its excess moisture. I will also dollop pesto on top of the cheese after baking the lasagna for an extra herby brightness. 

This lasagna recipe is far from our only easy skillet meal. Try one of our 42 Easy One-Skillet Meals That'll Feed the Whole Family, that similarly strike the sweet spot between quick and delicious. 

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