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In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until cooked through and browned. Drain any excess grease, if needed.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water, and stir everything together.
Add sugar (if using), basil, Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and 2 Tablespoons parsley, and stir to combine.
Simmer, covered, for at least 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. I usually try to simmer for as long as possible.
In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, 2 Tablespoons parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt. Refrigerate until needed.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
To assemble, spread 1½ cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange a single layer of three noodles over meat sauce.
Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Spoon 1½ cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
Cool for 15 minutes before serving.