Add the olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent and the pepper is tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for one more minute.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey or sugar, salt, and pepper. If you’re using whole tomatoes, break up the tomatoes with a spoon. To save time, I will sometimes give whole tomatoes a quick spin in the blender to break them down a bit, then add them to the pot. (This is also a good method if you're serving people who don't like tomato chunks in their sauce).
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, until the sauce comes to a boil. Turn the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the parsley, then remove from the heat.
Make the lasagna
Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grab a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. Smear a little of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add a single layer of pasta, breaking to fit as needed. Using a couple of spoons (one to scoop and one to scrape it off), plop half the ricotta all over the noodles in little mounds. Top with 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on half of the mozzarella.
Repeat with a layer of pasta, then the rest of the ricotta, then another third of the sauce, then the remaining mozzarella.
Add a last layer of pasta and spread the remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake until bubbly and melty and the pasta is tender, about 45 minutes. If the top begins to get brown, cover with foil during the last 10 minutes or so of baking.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Keeps refrigerated covered or in an airtight container for about 3 days. It also keeps frozen for several months. I have also frozen single-portion leftovers in individual freezer bags for quick and easy lunches.
* Whole wheat is a great option, but I recommend cooking to a very al dente state first. With every other pasta, in my experience, uncooked works just fine. It cooks up perfectly in the oven!