“Hey Melissa, we have some exciting news! Will you send me your email address?” The message was in my Facebook inbox from Ian who works at Saveur. This must be the meanest scam ever, I thought. I sent my address anyways. In my email inbox the next morning was the craziest email of my career. I guess that’s what you call this thing. A career. “Congratulations, you are a finalist for the Best Style & Design Blog category for the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards.” My hands trembled. They’re still trembling. I took a screenshot of the email as proof and sent it to Kev and my sister.
My sister then confessed to nominating me, which sent a flood of tears. She’s always been my biggest supporter. She makes so many of the recipes here, messages me with major grammar errors, never laughs at my blind ambitions, and nominates me for awards far out of my league. But I think I must owe a thank you to more than just her. Based on statistics, I imagine that someone reading this now also nominated me on their own initiative. My voice is trembling too. Thank you.
I often remind people, friends, who tell me they’re nervous to invite me over to dinner because I run a blog with a lot of recipes, that I hired myself. I bought my own URL and enlisted myself as boss. And then I hired myself to design our home. Talk about lack of credentials. I owe a huge thank you Saveur too for real credentials. PS—this should have no bearing on inviting me over.
I thought it would be fitting in light of this award, to acknowledge someone who has inspired me from the earliest blogging days by both her food and style, Karen Mordechai from Sunday Suppers. She does simplicity so well. It was her mini pot pies that inspired my love of pot pies and using white wine in sauces. It was also those two-tone ceramic cups from that post that sent me on a long hunt for something similar. I never found them, but fell in love with enamelware in the search.
To celebrate this news, I made Karen’s beautifully simple recipe from her new book Simple Fare. As my college English professor always said, nothing is created in a vacuum. Neither was my design style. It’s a reflection of so many people who have also inspired me.
One final thank you. Thank you for believing in me. It has great weight in my personal life and career (I guess we’ll just call it that). Never underestimate the power of believing in someone. If you’d like to vote for me, head this way.
This recipe is a light adaptation of the Lasagnette in Simple Fare by Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers. Lasagna noodles tossed in a simple tomato sauce and topped with plenty of parmesan and cracked pepper—this is a celebration of the simple things.
28 oz. can San Marzano Tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pure cane sugar
8 oz. dried, flat lasagna noodles
freshly grated parmesan reggiano
a couple cracks of pepper
Make the sauce. In a small saucepan, add the tomatoes, oil, and salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the sugar and cook for an additional 5 minutes to help neutralize the acidity. For a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender or high-powered blender to reach desired consistency. Return to pan.
Meanwhile, make the noodles. In a sauté pan filled 2/3 full of water, or a pan wide enough to fit the sheets of pasta, bring to a boil. Salt liberally before adding noodles. Cook according to package instructions until al dente. Once ready, add noodles into the sauce and cook for a second more before plating.
To serve, plate 3 to 4 noodles. Garnish liberally with parmesan. Add a sprinkle of cracked pepper and fresh basil. Serve.
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