In the kitchen with Chef Rich Mancini

This segment is produced with and sponsored by Alessi.

In our "In the Kitchen" segment, we bring in cooks of all walks of life to create a dish using Alessi ingredients. Today "In the Kitchen" we had an executive chef who is no stranger to food competition - he competed on the Food Network shows "Beat Bobby Flay" and won on "Cut Throat Kitchen" - Chef Rich Mancini of Mancini's Chop House in Melrose Park.

Chef Rich picked out his favorite Alessi ingredients and created an amazing lasagna.

Our Friends at Alessi sent Chef Rich and a lucky member of our studio audience home with a gift basket of goodies. Visit their website for all the Alessi products.

Chef Rich's Lasagna recipe:

Ingredients
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese

1 egg
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.