Baked lasagne

Yield: 6 servings

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds Of lean ground beef, or Italian sausage
3 tablespoons Olive oil
1 large Onion, chopped (to make 1 cup)
1 large Red or green bell pepper (finely chopped)
2 larges Garlic cloves, minced
28 ounces Italian plum tomatoes
6 ounces Can tomato paste
⅓ cup Water
1½ teaspoon Dried basil
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Sugar (optional)
\N \N Salt
¼ teaspoon Freshly ground pepper
1 \N Bay leaf, broken in half
15 ounces Fresh ricotta
4 cups Grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 \N Egg
½ teaspoon Salt
8 \N Lasagne noodles (about 6 oz.)
1 tablespoon Olive oil
¼ cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup Freshly grated mozzarella cheese

Remove sausage casings and crumble sausage. Brown meat in large pot, stirring occasionally to break up the meat. Drain off fat.

Remove meat and set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in the same pot, add onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 8 minutes or until onion is tender.

Stir in the reserved meat, tomato puree, tomato paste, water, basil, oregano, sugar, ¾ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and bay leaf and bring to boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours, or until flavors mingle and mixture thickens slightly (there will be about 4½ to 5 cups of sauce).

Combine ricotta, ¼ cup Parmesan, egg, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.

Bring 3 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt, then gradually add lasagne noodles so that water continues to boil. Cook noodles until barely tender, about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice; do not overcook. Drain noodles; rinse in cold water and drain well. Return noodles to pot and toss them gently with 1 tablespoon oil to prevent them sticking.

Line the bottom of a a buttered 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan with 4 lasagne noodles, cutting one as necessary to completely cover the bottom. Spread evenly with half of ricotta mixture (1 generous cup). Sprinkle evenly with half of mozarella (about 2 cups). Spread with half of the tomato/meat sauce.

Top with remaining 4 noodles, cutting one noodle as above so that the sauce mixture is completely covered. Evenly layer on remaining ingredients in the same order as above. Sprinkle the top of the lasagne evenly with ¼ cup Parmesan and ¼ cup mozzarella.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for about 45 or 50 minutes or until lasagne is hot in center. Remove from oven; let stand for 15 minutes. Cut in squares and serve on heated plates with garlic bread.

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