Vegetarian Skillet Lasagna
Just when you think you’re on top of things – as a parent, or as anything, really – the universe will almost certainly chuckle to itself and remind you, “Not quite, sister, not quite.” I’ve recently been feeling like I was managing the Venn diagram that is my kids’ food preferences. You know what I mean, right? Where one kid’s love of starch can intersect with the other kid’s attachment to legumes in a Chili Mac. Or something like that.
Well, before I got to sure of myself another element was thrown in the mix. Once a week Esme and a friend from school are being tutored together. I pick all the kids up off of the bus, bring them back here. The girls go over super fun French grammar and some math for an hour with their smarty-pants tutor while Julian battles invisible ninjas in his room and I make dinner. Once in awhile the friend stays for dinner. The friend who doesn’t really like vegetables. At all. Alrighty then.
I’m sure a smarter person than me could have come up with a new Venn diagram where the intersection of all three kids created the perfect dish. Me? I put a bunch of things in a pot and then covered it with a lot of cheese. Voila! Skillet lasagna! I made mine vegetarian, but you could absolutely include sausage or ground beef in this and I think it would be great. The trick is to make enough sauce to cover your dried pasta and then enough cheese – go for gooey mozzarella and soft ricotta – to blanket the whole business. As I was putting this together I was thinking that zucchini noodles would make a cool twist. But it also would have made a dinner that one kid wouldn’t have touched. So, this was a compromise. It was also a dinner that everyone happily ate. Take that, universe!
photo by Leila Ashtari
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 6 - 8 mushrooms, sliced
- 1 x 19 oz can of tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 8 oz (250 grams) of dried pasta like farfalle
- 1 cup grated mozzarella
- 1 cup ricotta
- small handful of fresh basil
Warm up olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and allow them to soften, about 3 minutes. Toss in zucchini and mushrooms and oregano. Stir occasionally for 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add canned tomatoes and break them up with the back of a spoon. Pour in water. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer.
Pour pasta into the sauce and make sure it is mostly submerged. Allow pasta to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom.
When the pasta is just about cooked, stir in mozarella.
Spoon ricotta over top of the dish. Cover the skillet for about 3 minutes to allow the cheese to warm through and soften. Sprinkle fresh basil before serving.
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