Tag Archives: greek

getting a little Greeky

Perhaps culturally inaccurate, but I’m willing to call my little skillet dinner twist Greek Lasagna. We live near some great family-owned Greek restaurants; Andrew and I have ventured into the city solely for amazing Greek cuisine. My exposure to Greek food left me with this observation: from a vegetarian perspective, my experience bears much resemblance to Italian dining, only with feta and spinach. And I love feta with spinach. So why not Greek-i-fy my attempt at skillet lasagna with all this great feta in the fridge and spinach in the freezer? 

Now I want to call this meal lickety-quick, but to me that means dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes. This is longer by the time it comes out of the oven, but doesn’t mean it’s any more challenging. 30 minutes of fun prep time, the easiest (essential) homemade sauce, and you have an impressive dinner for last-minute guests (who might also be named Adam and Melissa… 😉 ) 

Confession: I had never made lasagna of any kind (soon to be remedied after this smash hit), but what a deliciously fun way to start! Whether you’re a beginner or could layer lasagna in your sleep, this is a must-make. 

Greek Four-Cheese Skillet Lasagna

This serves 4 ravenous young adults as a main course, or easily 6-8 averaged-appetite guests when accompanied by salad and good bread… 

inspired by a late-night viewing of PBS’ Everyday Food 

2 28-ounce canned whole peeled plum tomatoes (no additives)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or minced on your microplane!)
3.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 box (12 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
3/4 cup crumbled feta
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
dried oregano (enough for sprinkling)

food processor or blender and a deep saute pan (mine is 10″, 4 qt.) 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor (a blender might work too), pulse tomatoes until coarsely pureed. (Okay, you may be thinking already that store-bought sauce cuts 15 minutes out of this dinner. But homemade cuts so much sodium from your meal and tastes so rich, consider an exception here). 

In a large deep skillet, saute the spinach in half a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it starts to get a little crispy (yum). Add the garlic at this point, saute for about 30 seconds, then bring the tomatoes, garlic and oil to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

(May I note here that none of the gentlemen gobbling three helpings of this dish even noticed—or complained about—all the nutritious spinach? Not that men don’t like greens, I’m just not related to any of those kind…) 

Reduce to a simmer and cook on medium until thickened, about 12 minutes (you should have 5 cups marinara sauce). The longer the sauce simmers the better, so set the table or feed the dog or something… 

  

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together egg yolk, ricotta, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. The ingredient list length may seem intimidating, but you see here how all the ingredients combine with little effort.

Carefully pour sauce into a heatproof bowl (a pitcher or 8-cup pyrex is helpful) and return 3/4 cup to skillet; spread sauce evenly.  

 

Now it starts getting fun. (Keep the skillet nice and messy, it’s a one-pan meal). 

Add a single layer of noodles, breaking them up to fit.  

Top with half the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly. Sprinkled half the crumbled feta over top. 

  

  

 

Follow with a second layer of noodles…  

 

Then 1 inch of marinara.  

Add a third layer of noodles… 

 

Then the remaining ricotta mixture with the rest of the crumbled feta and a generous sprinkling of oregano.  

Follow with a final noodle layer 

Then remaining sauce (which will seem like a lot, but go to town).  

Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan over top. 

  1. Now I hope while the sauce was simmering you did some push-ups, because the pan is, well, heavy by this point.

    this takes two hands and a karate stance...

Bake lasagna until golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Check on the top layer around 10-15 minutes. Mine browned so quickly, I covered it with foil for the remaining 15 minutes to finish cooking the pasta through. 

Now for a super-simultaneous sidedish…

Cut some in-season veggies, along with some slices of onions, while the sauce is simmering. 

Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper, and add to the 400 degree oven. Both dishes should finish about the same time. Flip the veggies once or twice, and let them crisp a bit. 

a whole new meaning to hot and heavy...

Let the lasagna stand at least 10 minutes before serving—enough time for the veggies to have a little private time in the oven and brown perfectly.  

 

Adam's third helping.

  

  

  

Serve your lasagna with a big ol’ spoon, top your roasted veggies with some fresh shavings of parmesan and have a really good time.

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