Do not substitute no-boil lasagna noodles for the traditional, curly-edged lasagna noodles here. Meatloaf mix is a combination of ground beef, pork and veal, sold pre-packaged in many supermarkets. If it’s unavailable, use 1/2 pound each ground pork and ground beef and 85 percent lean ground beef.
- 3 (14.5-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- Salt, to taste
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound meatloaf mix
- 10 curly-edged lasagna noodles (about 8 1/2 ounces), broken into 2-inch lengths
- 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (see Tip)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until coarsely ground and no large pieces remain, about 12 pulses.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking apart the meat, until lightly browned and no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
Scatter the pasta over the meat, then pour the processed tomatoes over the pasta. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
Off the heat, stir in 1/2 of the mozzarella and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta over the noodles, then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and let stand off the heat until the cheese melts, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve.
Tip: We recommend using either whole milk or part-skim ricotta here, but do not use fat-free ricotta, which has a very dry texture and bland flavor.
Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.
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