I'm all for using smart shortcuts in the kitchen — something that Nadiya Hussain recommended to readers in her recent Salon Talk, as well — but I find that some of those time-savers need a little help. Case in point: jarred alfredo sauce. While I appreciate the ease, many varieties taste just a touch artificial and tend to just glom onto pasta.
That's where you need to invest in a snappy supporting cast of ingredients: spiced pork sausage, meaty mushrooms, a bright pop of lemon zest, fresh greens and fatty cheeses. Together, they elevate your jarred base into a restaurant-quality skillet lasagna.
This recipe uses no-boil lasagna noodles (another time-saver!), which give a nice al dente bite to the pasta dish as well. If you've never used them before, don't be intimidated, though as Epicurous' Adina Steiman wrote in 2017, there are a few caveats.
"Be sure the sauce and/or ricotta coats each spare inch of noodle — if it's naked, it's not getting cooked," she said. "And follow the package instructions about covering and uncovering the lasagna as it bakes so it percolates properly and then browns beautifully."
Feel free to adapt the recipe based on what you have in your kitchen. Spinach and arugula swap well for kale; chicken sausage, spiced chickpeas or a ground vegan sausage — I like this recipe — is a nice substitute for pork. Or, for a simple vegetarian version, double the mushrooms and ditch the sausage all together.
Recipe: Mushroom and Sausage Skillet Lasagna
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 pound of hot or sweet Italian sausage
- 1 pound of white or baby portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 cups of fresh kale, roughly chopped or torn
- 1 ½ cups of whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon of salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 9-ounce box of no-boil lasagna noodles
- 3 ½ cups of alfredo sauce (this just under two 15-ounce jars)
- ½ cup of fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 2-inch pieces
- Rough chopped Italian parsley for garnish
1. Preheat your oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, chopped mushrooms and kale to the olive oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and the mushrooms are soft.
2. Drain the mixture and transfer it to a large bowl to cool.
3. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, lemon zest, tablespoon of salt and parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Set aside.
4. Grab your skillet again. Spread a layer of alfredo sauce on the bottom of the pan, followed by 3 or 4 no-bake lasagna sheets. Add sauce again, then a layer of meat. Add another layer of lasagna sheets, followed by sauce and a thin layer of the ricotta mixture.
5. Continue alternating layers, finishing the meat and mushroom mixture on top. Top the lasagna with the fresh, torn mozzarella.
6. Tent the skillet with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.
7. Remove from the oven and allow the lasagna to sit for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon zest.