from the Cooks Illustrated folks, in an email.
Serves 4 to 6
Meatloaf mix is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal, sold packaged in many supermarkets. If it’s unavailable, use ground beef. A 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid works best for this recipe.
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
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, broken into 2-inch lengths
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1. Pour the tomatoes with their juices into a 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until the mixture measures 1 quart.
2. Heat the oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking apart the meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
3. Scatter the pasta over the meat but do not stir. Pour the diced tomatoes with their juices and the tomato sauce over the pasta. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the 1⁄2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons of the ricotta, cover, and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.