2 T olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 tsp each salt, garlic powder, freshly ground pepper
1 can [29 oz] tomato puree
2 cans [28 oz each] crushed tomatoes
1 T dried basil
10 sprigs fresh basil or to taste
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp grated Romano cheese
1 container [32 oz] whole-milk ricotta, drained in colander 1 hour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon or to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Freshly ground pepper
Noodles and assembly:
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz package dried lasagna noodles
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
For the sauce;
Heat the oil and butter in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat; add onion.
Cook until onion is fragrant; about 1 minute.
Stir in the beef, breaking it up with a spoon over medium-low heat; until browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the salt, garlic powder and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the tomato puree and the crushed tomatoes.
Stir in the dried basil. Increase heat to medium-high and heat to a boil.
Stir in the basil sprigs and sugar.
Stir in the Romano cheese. Lower heat to a simmer, cook 1 hour.
Meanwhile, for the rocotta filling:
Break up the ricotta into small pieces in a large bowl, mix in the beaten eggs, mozzarella, parsley, Parmesan, Lemon zest, juice, salt, sugar, cinnamon and pepper; stirring until smooth. Do not overmix.
Taste and add additional salt, sugar and/or lemon, if desired.
Heat oven to 350º.
For the noodles:
Heat a roasting pan or large pan of water to a boil and add salt.
Cook noodles until al dente, 3-4 minutes.
Remove noodles with tongs to a baking pan, keeping them flat; add a bit of the cooking water to keep pasta suple.
Pour 1/4 of the sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch buttered baking dish.
Sprinkle with 1 T of the Parmesan; cover completely with 1/3 of the noodles [overlapping is fine].
Add another 1/4 of the sauce; add half of the ricotta mixture.
Add 1 T Parmesan cheese, top with 2 T of the mozzarella.
Cover with 1/3 of the noodles. Add another 1/4 of the sauce; top with remaining ricotta mixture, remaining 1 T of the Parmesan and remaining 2 T of the mozzarella..
Cover with remaining noodles.Cover with remaining sauce.
Cover pan with foil; bake 30 minutes; Uncover and bake until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Set aside to rest 20 minutes before cutting.