Fried Ravioli with Marinara Sauce


Marinara Sauce:
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
2 (32 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
1 (9ounce) pkg frozen ravioli
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
2 c. Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
vegetable oil for frying
Marinara Sauce:
In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. In a blender, blend tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. For a creamy marinara and 1/2c. cream to 2 c. marinara sauce.
Fried Ravioli:
Bring water to a boil over high heat and cook ravioli for 2 minutes. Place cooked ravioli on paper towels to drain; set aside.
Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F. While the oil is heating, whisk the milk and eggs in a bowl and mix together the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl. Working in batches, dip ravioli in egg mixture to coat completely. Allow the excess mixture to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli. When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.