3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finally diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
7-10 Fresh Tomatoes, roughly chopped (if fresh are not in season, use 2 large cans of diced tomatoes.)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 star anise seed
½ cup red wine
½ lb ground beef
½ lb ground pork
1 teaspoon fennel seed
bunch of fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, basil, mint, oregano)
For the Lasagna:
12 lasagna sheets (either use cook or non-cook)
1 15oz ricotta container (if you don’t like ricotta, use cottage cheese, strained), seasoned with salt and pepper.
1 lb mozzarella, grated
2 cups shredded Parmesan or pecorino Romano
For the sauce, heat oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, herbs and spices and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the onions are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Raise heat slightly, crush the tomatoes into the pan. Add the wine and cook for an hour, stirring occasionally and tasting for seasoning. Add spices, salt and pepper as necessary.
In a sauté pan, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and then combine the beef, pork and fennel seed, cooking until browned all the way through. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Transfer the meat mixture to the sauce after the sauce is cooked all the way through. Add in the bunch of fresh chopped herbs. Set aside.
If using ricotta, mix the ricotta with salt, pepper, and mix with Italian herbs or minced garlic if you want an extra bold flavor.
Heat the oven to 375.
If necessary, cook the noodles, al dente.
Straining out the meat for this first part, spoon a thick layer of sauce into the bottom of a greased 9-by-9-inch lasagna pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spoon more sauce (this time with the meat) on top, then add ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat for 2 more layers, using all the meat and cheese. Top with a layer of noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle reserved mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until it is brown on top and bubbling. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.