It's full of rich tomato flavor and it's a dish that most everyone loves. I've tried other lasagna recipes, but this one is the best.
*I encourage you to make this lasagna one hour ahead of when you want to serve it. When you let the lasagna rest for an hour (or more) after it is done cooking, it holds its shape better and the end product is superb.
1 pound ground pork or ground pork sausage
1 tablespoon minced garlic, or 6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley
½ cup shredded parmesan
32 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
16 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
9-12 lasagna noodles (I prefer the oven-ready variety. See Note below)
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the pork until no pink remains. If desired, use paper towels to remove excess fat (I leave it because there is so little). Add to the cooked pork in the Dutch oven: garlic through tomato paste. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat. If using oven-ready noodles, stir one cup of water into the sauce. No extra water is needed if using traditional noodles.
While the tomato sauce is simmering: in a large bowl, combine eggs with salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan; mix thoroughly. Add ricotta and mix again.
Note: If using traditional noodles, you will need 10-12 of them because some of them break or stick together during cooking. Now is the time to cook those according to package directions. If using oven-ready noodles, you will only need 9 of them.
Use a deep 9" x 13" pan to prevent boiling over during cooking. The Pampered Chef Stone Pan is my favorite because the stone cooks food uniformly and retains the heat even after you've removed it from the oven. In the 9" x 13" pan, spread just enough of the pork/tomato sauce mixture to create a thin layer on the bottom. Layer three oven-ready lasagna noodles across the bottom the short way, leaving room in between the noodles. Unlike traditional lasagna noodles which you would overlap, oven-ready noodles expand while cooking so you need to leave a bit of room in between them. With traditional noodles, you layer them lengthwise, overlapping slightly; use enough of them to cover the length of the pan.
Your layers will look like this:
thin layer of sauce
1/2 of the ricotta mixture
1/2 of the mozzarella slices
1/3 of the sauce
remainder of ricotta mixture
remainder of mozzarella slices
1/2 of remaining sauce
remainder of sauce
Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until very bubbly around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to rest for -- ideally -- about an hour before serving. Serve with additional parmesan cheese.