1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
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 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1.In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
2.Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
3.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
4.To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
5.Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
I would cut down on the meat and use ground turkey instead. I wouldn't even bother with the sausage unless it was turkey sausage. I wouldn't use both, I would do one or the other.
I would also try to find whole wheat lasagna noodles although I've never seen them, they have to be somewhere.
I would buy low fat ricotta and would probably cut down on all three cheeses by half.
I would definitely add some veggies like squash or spinach but you don't want soupy lasagna so I would drain it half way through.
As for the little bit of sugar it won't hurt but I've never used sugar in my sauce before. My grandmother never put it in. I guess it depends on the tomatoes and your taste.
On the cooking method... I would crack the lid while simmering to reduce the water and would probably use tomato puree in place of the crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce to make it thicker. I would also get rid of the fennel if your using sausage. It's overkill to me. Also, anytime you are not cooking your sauce with meat you need to add a little olive oil.
Instead of the ricotta cheese and mozzarella I would make a basic white sauce with a little cornflour and skim milk and add some grated low fat strong cheese into the sauce to make a yummy low fat cheese sauce instead of the ricotta/egg mix. I would also use extra lean ground beef for the meat part of the meat sauce. I wouldn't bother with the sugar or fennel in the sauce either, crushed tomatoes are usually sweet enough, I always add extra veggies like peppers and mushrooms to the meat sauce.
I usually then layer meat sauce, noodles, white sauce, meat sauce, noodles white sauce and then top with a little grated Parmesan.
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