What Is Skillet Lasagna?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn
A cast iron skillet.
A cast iron skillet.

Skillet lasagna is an alternative way to cook the classic Italian lasagna dish that is a favorite in many places around the world; skillet lasagna is a composition of many of the same elements that go into traditional lasagna, but instead of being baked in the oven, it is cooked in a skillet, on a stove or range top. Skillet lasagna may give cooks more control over the cooking process, and may present itself as a quicker method of cooking overall.

Mozzarella with tomatoes and basil leaves.
Mozzarella with tomatoes and basil leaves.

Many of the same ingredients that go into skillet lasagna are ones that also have traditionally gone into baked lasagna. Skillet lasagna recipes do not seek to dramatically change the tastes of this dish; rather, it is the cooking technique and presentation that is different. Both dishes often utilize the same wide, flat noodles, with classic curled edges, that the traditional baked lasagna is known for.

Skillet lasagna uses an egg to bind the ingredients.
Skillet lasagna uses an egg to bind the ingredients.

In skillet lasagna, as well as baked lasagna, the lasagna noodles are layered in between tomato sauce, ricotta cheese and other elements. Cooks who are knowledgeable about Italian cooking will be familiar with these and other foods that produce the distinct taste sensations that many associate with classic Italian cooking. These include garlic, as well as peppers, oregano, and olive oil.

Ricotta cheese can be added to skillet lasagna for a creamy texture.
Ricotta cheese can be added to skillet lasagna for a creamy texture.

One ingredient that many recipes for skillet lasagna call for -- is not always added to traditional baked lasagna recipes. Some skillet versions of this dish call for an egg, which is added raw to the ricotta cheese mix. Some feel that the egg helps hold the dish together a bit better in the skillet. Ricotta cheese has a texture and taste that provides a kind of airy, light texture and a mild dairy flavor. Mozzarella cheese, another mild cheese, is also often used in both forms of the lasagna dish.

Many cooks will be familiar with both meat and vegetarian versions of skillet lasagna, which appeal to distinct audiences. Either of these can be done in the skillet, though generally, meat will require pre-cooking in order to facilitate the relatively short and easy preparation of the skillet dish. The pre-cooked ingredients, along with sauces, cheese, etc. are all added to the skillet and cooked at moderate temperatures, often for about 30 minutes. The result is a versatile dish that presents those strong flavors that people associate with classic lasagna.

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    • A cast iron skillet.
      By: Lana Langlois
      A cast iron skillet.
    • Mozzarella with tomatoes and basil leaves.
      By: Studio Gi
      Mozzarella with tomatoes and basil leaves.
    • Skillet lasagna uses an egg to bind the ingredients.
      By: HandmadePictures
      Skillet lasagna uses an egg to bind the ingredients.
    • Ricotta cheese can be added to skillet lasagna for a creamy texture.
      By: Roberto Fasoli
      Ricotta cheese can be added to skillet lasagna for a creamy texture.