2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
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1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
5 medium cloves garlic, sliced (about 1 tablespoon)
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large bay leaf
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed with your hands, plus their juices
½ cup basil leaves, packed, coarsely chopped
2 pounds (3 medium) eggplant, trimmed and cut crosswise into ½-inch rounds
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe (16 to 18 ounces) Basic Pasta Dough, rolled into sheets and cut into eight, 12-by-4-inch noodles (see accompanying recipe); you will have leftover dough)
4 cups (16 ounces) freshly grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino-Romano cheese
½ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
For the sauce: Heat the oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the onion and reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and the bay leaf. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until the onion is soft but not brown. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and their juices. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, adjusting the heat so that the sauce is barely bubbling around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. The yield is 5 cups.
For the lasagna: Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Brush half of the eggplant slices on both sides with the oil and season them generously with salt and pepper. Arrange them on the baking sheet in a single layer and broil for 5-7 minutes on each side, until well browned. Transfer them to a platter and allow them to cool. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or equivalent. Spread 1 cup of the sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish.
Place two lasagna sheets on top of the sauce, side by side, and spread them evenly with 1 cup of sauce. Lay one-third of the eggplant slices over the sauce, then a cup of mozzarella and ¼ cup of the pecorino-Romano. Repeat this step twice and then a third time, but without the eggplant. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. You will have pasta left over for another use.
Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese has browned and the sauce is bubbling. Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Cook's notes: The beauty of fresh pasta is that it cooks in lasagna without your having to parboil the noodles first. The lasagna can be made a day in advance, cooled, covered and refrigerated. Or it can be cooled, tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.
Nutrition values per serving: 590 calories, 29 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 51 g carbohydrates, 8 g dietary fiber, 30 g protein, 140 mg cholesterol, 1,140 mg sodium.