World’s Best Lasagna

1 pound sweet Italian sausage (I use turkey sausage)
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 c onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2(6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t dried basil leaves
1/2 t fennel seeds (I usually omit this)
1 t Italian seasoning
1 T salt (I usually reduce to a couple teaspoons)
1/4 t ground black pepper
4 T chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles (regular or no cook. I usually use no cook noodles.)
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 t salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until cooked through and browned.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water, and stir everything together.
  3. Add sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 T salt, pepper, and 2 T parsley, and stir to combine.
  4. Simmer, covered, for at least 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. I usually try to simmer for as long as possible.
  5. If using regular lasagna noodles, cook according to package instructions and drain.
  6. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, remaining parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  8. To assemble, spread 1½ cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange a single layer of noodles over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese.
  9. Spoon 1½ cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
  10. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  11. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  12. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
  13. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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