So, usually in, oh I dunno mid-January, is when everything on Pinterest begins to be heart-shaped and red. Pancakes, jell-o, cookies, meringues, you name it. And every single time, my internal knee-jerk reaction is to whisper:
“DIE DIE DIE DIE”
I can’t help it. I’m just not a huge fan of Valentine’s day, but over the years I’ve realized it doesn’t have to be a lame holiday. There are tons of ways to have a perfectly enjoyable Valentine’s Day without it being dumb and annoying.
First step: Don’t buy champagne (grocery stores usually mark it up during V-Day anyway). Drink a pét-nat instead. Or beer. I love beer.
Third step: If you’re going to buy the cheesy candy from the drug store, buy it the day after when it’s 50% off. Duh.
And lastly, fourth step: STAY HOME. Cook dinner for you and your man/girl or friends. Restaurants where prix fixe menus exist and they put heart-shaped confetti on the tables makes me want to vom.
A few months ago, Josh and I were craving lasagna. We wanted layers and layers of cheese and bolognese and carbs. But what we didn’t want was a bunch of leftovers so when I was going through my baking dishes to decide which one we should and use none of them worked (all of my small ones are round), I noticed my loaf pan just whispering my name, dying to be put in the game.
The clouds parted in the sky! AHHHH!! It’s the perfect size for lasagna sheets (though they do need to be put side-by-side and overlapped by a bit).
We started a homemade bolognese, put it on low and allowed it to simmer for an hour while we went on a hike with Amelia. When we came home, we opened a bottle of wine, layered that bitch and put it in the oven. It was a glorious dinner for two.
We couldn’t eat the entire loaf pan but the leftovers were manageable (I’d say we ate a bit more than half), which meant the next day we had just enough for lunch. Dinner perfection.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning*
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3/4 pound lean (90%/10%) ground beef
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 pound dried lasagna pasta
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta
- 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella
- In a dutch oven or medium pot, set over medium heat, heat the olive oil. When hot, add the shallots, diced carrot and a pinch of salt; cook until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Next, mix in the garlic cloves, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper; cook for an additional minute, until very fragrant. Add the ground beef and break it up with a spoon into crumbles. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, mixing occasionally, until browned.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes. Add about 3/4 cup water (you can eyeball this measurement) to the empty tomato can and swish it around, picking up any leftover tomatoes from the side of the can, and pour it in the pot. Next, stir in the tomato paste. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then immediately turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and allow the sauce to simmer and merry for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Uncover the pot, give it a taste test, and adjust the salt according to your liking. Allow the sauce to simmer for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sheets of lasagna and cook according to the packages directions, usually this is around 8 to 9 minutes. Drain and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil so the pasta sheets don’t stick.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. To assemble the lasagna, grab your 8 x 5-inch loaf pan. Place two sheets of lasagna pasta on the bottom of the loaf pan, overlapping them slightly. Spread around a thin layer of bolognese, top with a few dots of ricotta and a handful of mozzarella. Repeat the layering process until you’ve reached the top. The top layer should be pasta, a bit of sauce and a good amount of mozzarella cheese.
- Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 to 20 minutes. To get the top layer of cheese all burnt and bubbly, turn on the broiler. Place the lasagna underneath the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, watching it the entire time. Allow to stand for a few minutes before slicing (it’ll be crazy hot!). Top with some Parmesan, if you like, and some fresh basil.