Unless you’re cooking for a school cafeteria or a firehouse, homemade lasagna can be a hassle. There’s just SO MUCH OF IT. The first night, it’s great. The second night, it’s fantastic. The third morning, you’ve barely put a dent in it, but it HAS to go. Especially when you’re cooking for two, and you ask your husband if he wants lasagna for lunch, and he looks at you like you’re Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest,” serving that same plate of rare steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner. NO LEFTOVER LASAGNA, EVER!

Our compromise is Skillet Lasagna. One pan. One layer of each ingredient.

The pasta layer is fairly thick, so by the time I stir the ingredients together, we’re not missing the nicely layered rectangle. No, we’ve learned to settle for the occasional big, warm bowl of spicy meat and pasta slathered in tomatoes, Parmesan and gooey Ricotta. With a little fresh basil. One pan. Less than an hour. It’s hard, but we’re making due.

Skillet Lasagna

Adapted from “Cook’s Country”

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • Salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound meatloaf mix, ground sirloin or Italian sausage (casings removed)
  • 10 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  1. Pour tomatoes with their juices into 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
  3. Scatter pasta onto meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juice and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons of ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for five minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.