4 tablespoonfresh basil(chopped, reserve half for the ricotta mixture)
16 ozbaby spinach
12lasagna noodles(cooked, drained and rinsed)
¾ lbmozzarella cheese(sliced or grated)
¾ lbParmesan cheese
32 ozricotta cheese
In a deep cooking pot or Dutch oven, add vegetable oil and cook onion and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Add tomato products (crushed or diced tomatoes, paste and sauce) and stir to combine.
Add seasoning: sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and 2 tablespoon fresh basil. Stir the seasoning into the tomato sauce thoroughly and cover. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of water (lightly salted) to a boil, add lasagna noodles, and cook 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.
Combine ricotta mixture in a medium/large mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese, eggs (beaten), the remaining 2 tablespoon fresh basil, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly coat your lasagna pan with oil or use a non-stick cooking spray.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, and add the spinach. Stir to coat the leaves with butter and cook only about 2 minutes, just long enough for the leaves to begin to wilt (season with a pinch of salt, if desired). Remove from heat and set aside until assembling the lasagna.
To layer your lasagna, start by spreading 1 ½ c of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan. Arrange six noodles across the width of the pan on the tomato sauce, then spread ½ the ricotta mixture onto the noodles. Top ricotta cheese mixture with ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese (sliced or grated), then spoon 1 ½ c of the tomato sauce over the mozzarella. After the tomato sauce layer add ¼ c Parmesan cheese and repeat layers. Once done with both layers, use remaining cheese to top off the lasagna.
Cover with aluminum foil (use non-stick cooking spray on underside of the foil, or make sure that the foil does not touch the top layer of cheese). Bake for 25 minutes, remove foil and bake another 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling at pan edges. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.