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The Best Ever Lasagna

My brother, Joe, created this lasagna based on our mom’s recipe. It’s a family favorite at Christmas, thanks to the special ingredients that make it magnifico. —Stephanie Marchese, Taste of Home Visual Production Director
  • Total Time
    Prep: 2-3/4 hours Bake: 1 hour + standing
  • Makes
    15 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each ) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 4 Italian sausage links
  • 1 carton (16 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 12 sheets no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 21 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • In a Dutch oven, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, water, fresh basil, 2 teaspoons sugar and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, cook bulk sausage in a skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles, 8-10 minutes; drain. Add to sauce; simmer until mixture is thickened, about 1 hour longer.
  • While sauce simmers, preheat oven to 350°. Place sausage links on a rimmed baking sheet; roast until cooked through, 35-40 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly; slice into 1/4-in.-thick pieces.
  • In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, dried basil and remaining sugar.
  • In a greased 13x9-in. baking dish, spread 2 cups sauce. Arrange 4 noodles over sauce; spread with a third of the ricotta mixture. Add 7 provolone slices, a third of the sliced sausage and 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times, using only 1 cup sauce per layer. Spread with 2 cups sauce (reserve remaining sauce for serving on the side), remaining 2-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese (dish will be full).
  • Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, uncovered, until bubbly and deep golden brown, 60-65 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serve with remaining meat sauce.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 509 calories, 33g fat (15g saturated fat), 106mg cholesterol, 1185mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 29g protein.
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