This recipe was adapted from a number of recipes from parents, online cooking sites, and me!
Here is what you will need:
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
1 pound of ground venison (deer meat) (I sometimes use ground beef if I don't have any deer, but deer is better!)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 jar of Classico Spicy Tomato & Basil spaghetti sauce
4 tablespoons of white sugar
3 tablespoons fresh Basil leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (I usually buy curly leaf parsley--that's because it's called "curly leaf" and I think that sounds cute)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
32 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Handful of shredded cheddar cheese
8-12 lasagna noodles
Start with the following in a large pot: The Italian sausage, beef (or deer meat), the chopped onion, and the minced garlic.
Brown these ingredients until they are cooked--15 min-ish. After it is finished cooking, do not remove the grease from the meat.
Then add the can of crushed tomatoes and the can of Classico sauce. Stir.
Now you need to chop the basil and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. If you are great with a knife, go for it. I would kill myself. So I refer back to my Rachael Ray roots and will pass on a tip from her that has saved my life. Do you need to chop your fresh spices and herbs? Put them in a coffee grinder for about 1 second! Literally---that's it!
ONE SECOND LATER:
Add the chopped basil and 2 tablespoons of the parsley to the sauce. Also add sugar, salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper:
Cover and let it simmer as long as you want! I usually stick to one and a half to two hours. You could let it simmer allll day, though. I have also considered cooking it in the crock pot overnight, but have never tried it. If you do, let me know! Sometimes I make the sauce and let it sit overnight in the fridge, too. It tastes better the next day :-)
Soak the lasagna noodles in hot tap water for about 15 minutes to start the pasta-cooking process.
While they are soaking, I make the cheese filling.
Add the ricotta, the nutmeg, the egg, and the other 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley to a bowl and mix them up!
Now, to build the layers! Use a 9x13 baking pan.
Layer in this order:
--Half of the Noodles
--Half of the ricotta mixture
--1/2 of the mozzarella cheese
--1/2 of the Parmesan cheese
--Rest of the noodles
--Rest of the ricotta
--Mozzarella (save some for the top)
--Parmesan (save some for the top)
--Sauce (I usually have lots of sauce left over. I freeze it and use it with spaghetti later)
--Remaining cheeses (including the cheddar. I only use a tiny bit of cheddar, it's basically just to give the top of the lasagna some color. I usually add some chopped basil on top, as well)
It should look similar to this:
Cover it with foil.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 25 minutes.
(I forgot to get a picture after it came out of the oven... sorry! It smelled so good I couldn't think about anything else!)