I have met many rather wonderful people through this blog and via Twitter, but one of my favorite people is @ErikBlevins, a.k.a. J, who, along with the phenomenally awesome @handpecked, shepherded me through two of the three Asian meals I had on that crazy face-stuffing day this past summer. The other day, he was kind enough to send me his recipe for lasagna, one of the most perfect winter dishes ever. I had to make it right away. J's easier version lists prepared spaghetti sauce (specifically Newman's Own, because in J's words, "it's good sauce and the man was gorgeous," which are sentiments I co-sign completely), but because I was bored, I decided to sub in homemade sauce, ala Giada. Also, I decided to make a huge batch and freeze half for use some night when I am all out of inspiration and energy to either cook or decide on somewhere for us to eat. The full lasagna recipe will be up later.
List of ingredients for the marinara sauce:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 28-oz cans of crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
I like to start recipes like this by making sure that I have everything prepped ahead of time, so I finely chopped the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots before even making a move toward the stove.
Once all the vegetables were ready to go, I heated the olive oil over medium heat, added the onion and garlic, and cooked until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
I added in the celery, carrots, salt and pepper, and cooked an additional 10 minutes until those vegetables were soft.
I plopped in the entire contents of the two cans of tomatoes, added the bay leaves, and let the sauce simmer on medium low heat for about an hour, then fished out the bay leaves. Delicious - really hearty and flavor-packed, and ridiculously simple. I poured about half of the sauce into a container for later and prepared to tackle the rest of the lasagna...
TO BE CONTINUED!