Sunday, December 8, 2013
I had it in my head that I wanted to do a skillet lasagna. So I marched off to the store (yes, I really drove) to gather up the ingredients. I made the mistake of going to Walmart. I don't have a problem with Walmart, per se. It's the people. And the lines. And the parking lot. My goodness, have you experienced that? If you pull into the parking lot across the front of the store, you have to wait for drones of people to cross. You have to wait for cars to let people out so they don't have to walk through the parking lot. You have to wait for people who want to turn left and are waiting for oncoming Walmart-goers. It's kind of a beating. Okay, rant over.
So they were out of ricotta cheese. Not one single variety or tub to be found. There was even another couple there looking for ricotta, and they asked an employee who disappeared off into the abyss that is the storage in the back. So I improvised. I grabbed a container of cottage cheese and I was off.
When I got home and started cooking this "skillet lasagna," I realized that my cast iron skillet wasn't going to be big enough for what I wanted to put into it. So improvisation prevailed here and I grabbed a dutch oven. As the dish was almost finished, I realized that I needed to thicken the sauce up a bit. I didn't have any tomato paste on hand, so I grabbed the closest thing I could find...ketchup. And guess what! It turned out pretty darn good. So what was supposed to be a one-skillet dish turned into a one-pot dish. I'll give you the option to use ricotta or cottage cheese and whether to use tomato paste or ketchup. As a grownup, I think I would have liked the tomato paste better. But the kids loved it, and it was overall a success.
What's your pet peeve about Walmart?
1 onion, chopped
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 lb ground beef
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces lasagna noodles, broken
2 C beef stock
2 C water
4 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C red wine
1 T garlic powder
Red chili flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
One 6-ounce container cottage cheese (or one similar sized container ricotta)
1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 C ketchup (or a small can of tomato paste)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Drizzle some olive oil into a large pot or a dutch oven. Cook the onion until tender. Add in the Italian sausage and ground beef and cook and crumble until well browned. Drain if necessary. Add in the tomatoes, garlic, beef stock, water, garlic powder, wine, broken lasagna noodles, and chili flakes, to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to still bubbling but not a full boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has cooked down some, about 20 minutes. Add in the ketchup or tomato paste and stir. Cook until the sauce is thickened. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat.
Preheat the broiler. Put dollops of the cottage cheese or ricotta around the top of the lasagna. Sprinkle on some Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Cook under the broiler a few minutes or until the cheese is melted and the cottage cheese or ricotta is warmed through. Garnish with fresh Italian parsley.