Pasta is the perfect Monday night meal around here. Mondays are usually very busy with laundry, chores, and school. I don't have a lot of time to devote to an extravagant time-consuming dinner. But that's the nice thing about pasta. Even if you ignore it, two-time it, call it names, or give it the run-around, it stays devoted to you.
The Best 30-minute Recipe
1 lb meatloaf mix (or 1/2 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb ground pork)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper
6 oz curly-edged lasagna noodles (8 noodles), broken into 2-in pieces
1 (26 oz) jar tomato sauce, such as marinara (about 3 cups)*
2 c water
1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded*
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese*
3/4 c whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 c minced fresh basil
1. Cook meat in 12-in nonstick skillet over high heat, breaking it into pieces with wooden spoon, until fat renders, 3-5 min. Drain meat and return to skillet.
2. Stir in garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 t salt and cook over med-hi heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Sprinkle broken noodles into skillet, then pour in tomato sauce and water over top. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until noodles are tender, about 20 min.
4. Off heat, stir in half of mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot heaping tablespoons of ricotta over noodles, then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and let stand off heat until cheeses melt, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving.
*I use our favorite homemade marinara.
* You could also use 3/4 c of shredded Italian cheese blend.