SERVES 4 TO 6
The word lasagne is derived from the Roman lasanum, meaning a pot for cooking. But the first flat sheets of pasta, made with water and hard durum wheat (semolina) were probably baked on hot stones to preserve them. In old Italian cooking manuscripts there are references to lasagne cooked in broth and served sprinkled with cheese, not layered and stuffed, a far cry from what has come to be lasagne today. But things do change and here is a change from oven baked lasagne to a nifty stovetop version, using no-boil noodles. A cast iron skillet or similar heavy-duty pan will work nicely. The beauty of this technique is that the lasagne is cooked in about 35 minutes. Del Verde No Boil lasagne sheets were used in this savory artichoke and cheese lasagne.
One 15-ounce container of skim or whole milk ricotta cheese, well drained
1 egg white
5 cooked artichoke hearts (either frozen or in brine, drained), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
8-ounce ball mozzarella cheese, cut into bits
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper
3 cups tomato sauce, plus extra to pass when serving
4 dried lasagne sheets, each 8 x 8 inches
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for sprinkling
Combine the ricotta cheese, egg white, artichoke slices, parsley, mozzarella cheese, and salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 10 x 2-inch deep cast iron skillet or similar size heavy-duty sauté pan.
Place a lasagne sheet over the sauce; do not worry that the sheet does not fit exactly; it will expand while it cooks.
Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the lasagne sheet. Scatter about two tablespoons of the tomato sauce over the cheese.
Make 2 more layers like the first, ending with a top layer of the last lasagne sheet. Spread 1 1/4 cups of the tomato sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Cover the skillet tightly with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and then a cover, slightly pressing it on the aluminum foil. Do not worry if the cover does not lie flat on top of the skillet; as the lasagne cooks, it will shrink down.
Place the skillet over medium low heat and cook the lasagne for 35 minutes. Uncover and check to see if the noodles are tender and cooked through. If not, recover the skillet and cook a bit longer.
Serve the lasagne directly from the skillet and pass extra tomato sauce if desired.
This recipe is featured on show 1720, Lazy Lasagne — Lasagne Pigre.
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