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1-2-3 Lasagna

2 pounds ground beef
5 cups Basic Red Sauce, recipe follows
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta
2 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound grated Mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 dried (uncooked) lasagna noodles
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
11/2 cups chopped yellow onions (1 medium yellow onion)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves garlic)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large saucepan, add the ground beef and brown over medium heat. Season with salt, pepper, and Essence. Add the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. In a large bowl fold together the ricotta cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 1/2 cup grated mozzarella, the Essence, salt, parsley, basil, and black pepper. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart (13 by 9 by 2-inch) casserole. Lay 3 lasagna noodles lengthwise down the dish. The noodles should not touch one another. Spoon 3/4 cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella evenly over the ricotta. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, for a total of 4 layers of noodles. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella over the top layer of tomato sauce, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil, and bake, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the casserole from the oven, and remove the aluminum foil. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and squeeze to break into small pieces. Set aside. In a heavy 5-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt, basil, oregano and black pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, sugar and reserved crushed tomatoes, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, and use as needed. Yield: 10 cups (2 1/2 quarts) Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container. Yield: about 2/3 cup Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Source: www.foodnetwork.com