Making it up as I go...

When I scribbled this week's menu plan, the current heat wave had not yet been forecast. Want to know what I'd originally planned for tonight? Lasagna. Lasagna that bakes in a 400 degree oven. NO WAY that was happening today, when temps here hit 102.

But...I did have a large bunch of chard to use up. And a container of ricotta in the fridge, that I purchased a while back for reasons now unclear to me, which was nearing its expiration date. And (so I thought) lasagna noodles. And some mozzarella.

So, I came up with a compromise: skillet lasagna. I made a quick tomato sauce with olive oil, garlic, canned tomatoes and basil. Then I reached for the box of lasagna noodles...only to find that I didn't have any. Instead I parboiled some ziti and mixed together the ricotta, an egg, a handful of grated parmesan, and a dollop of freshly made pesto. I put a little tomato sauce in a large skillet, scattered half the ziti on top, then plopped spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture all over. I placed handfuls of chopped chard on top of that, then the remaining ziti, and finally the rest of the sauce poured over everything. I put a lid on the skillet and let everything simmer for about 25 minutes (long enough to cook the egg and bring the pasta to al dente). Then I removed the lid and scattered some shredded mozzarella on top, letting it melt.

The verdict? All the flavors of lasagna, none of the oven heat! And most of the stovetop time is a) unattended and b) covered so you're not standing over a hot pot stirring and sweating. Granted, on a hot day like this I might have preferred a lighter meal (or perhaps just an ice cream cone!), but I'm happy to have used up the ingredients and eaten a delicious meal! I'll be making a skillet lasagna again...but maybe I'll wait til there's some snow on the ground. And until I have some actual lasagna noodles in the pantry.

1 Response to "Making it up as I go..."

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I have done something similar and it is quick and tastes great. I know what you mean - turning on the oven is just not an option in this heat!

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