Skillet Lasagna Is A No-Bake Take On The Italian Classic

There are many different ways to cook lasagna, but no matter which way is your favorite, it's hard to argue that lasagna isn't one of the great comfort foods. While it's perfect for feeding lots of hungry people, it's admittedly not the quickest thing to make. Time is precious for many home cooks, which has pushed many toward making frozen lasagnas that are ripped out of a box and popped in the oven. These are convenient, sure, but always lack the flavor of homemade. Thankfully, there's a solution for getting something that's both easy to make, and delicious like classic homemade lasagna.

One-pan lasagna by Mashed Recipe Developer, Kristen Carli, is a straightforward way to replicate the old-school lasagna taste while majorly cutting down on prep and clean-up time. This recipe does not get baked in an oven like traditional lasagna, so the key to getting a similar flavor is by using a pan or pot that has great heat retention, to emulate an oven so the flavors can more effectively come together. Cast iron, whether in the form of a skillet or a Dutch oven, is one of the best things you can use for this recipe; but if you don't have one of those, then any big skillet or sauté pan will suffice. And if you think the pot for boiling the noodles technically counts as two, this recipe uses oven-ready sheets of pasta that get cooked with the rest of the ingredients, making it a true one-pot wonder.

Tips for making the perfect skillet lasagna

Besides the crucial ingredient — the cast-iron cookware — there are a few key tips to making this one-pot lasagna perfectly in under 30 minutes. The first is to make sure you build up a nice fond at the bottom of the pan. Fond is the tasty brown crust that develops at the base of the skillet after the meat and aromatics have had the water cooked out of them. After all of the water is released, the fat in the beef can really start to render, so don't be afraid to use medium-high heat from the start to evaporate the water as quickly as possible. And once you see the fond at the bottom and that the beef is no longer pink, this is the time to add the liquid ingredients which will deglaze the pan and reincorporate all the flavor of the fond.

The last big tip is to take your cheese to crispy town. You could just mix in the ricotta at the end, but nothing says lasagna like an enticing layer of browned cheese that blankets the top. If you're using a pan that isn't oven-safe, you should skip this step, but if you're using cast iron, you can sprinkle a layer of mozzarella on top of the lasagna mixture and stick the pot or skillet under the broiler for a few minutes. This will make sure the cheese not only melts, but develops a golden-brown color for perfect one-pot lasagna.