5tablespoonschopped fresh Italian herbssuch as basil, oregano, thyme, &/or parsley (DIVIDED)
8ouncesbow-tie pasta (farfalle)
½cupPLUS 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Pour can of diced tomatoes (with juices) into a 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until the mixture measures 4 cups. Stir in tomato sauce and sugar; set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil; tilt pan to coat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add ground beef and cook until done. Drain grease, season meat with garlic salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs.
Scatter pasta over meat and pour tomato mixture over pasta without stirring. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, covered, stirring every 5 minutes. Cook until pasta is tender, for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and stir in mozzarella and ½ cup Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more garlic salt, pepper, and/or sugar, if necessary. Remove from heat and dollop heaping tablespoons of ricotta all over surface of pasta mixture. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining fresh herbs and Parmesan.
I use a 5 ½-quart saute pan when making this recipe, but any large, deep skillet or Dutch oven (with a lid) should work.
Each time you stir the lasagna, push down on the pasta so that it's all submerged in tomato sauce before re-covering with the lid.
If sauce is evaporating too quickly during 20 minute simmering time, additional tomato sauce and/or water may be stirred in, as needed.
If you'd like to substitute jarred pasta sauce in this recipe, use 4 ½ cups pasta sauce in place of the diced tomatoes + tomato sauce. You will still need to add the ½ cup water and be prepared to add more liquid (if necessary) as the lasagna cooks.
Use your favorite fresh Italian herbs! You may use all basil or a combination of basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley.
If you don't have fresh herbs, you may use dried herbs instead. However, since dried herbs are more potent than fresh, you will want to reduce the amount to one-third as much. Use about 1 tablespoon dried herbs in the main recipe, plus an extra sprinkle at the end for garnish.
Be sure to taste and adjust seasonings at the end before topping with the ricotta. If the sauce is too acidic, add a bit more sugar.