Put the tomatoes in a blender and pulse 4 or 5 seconds to crush. Set aside .
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute and stir until the onion is soft. Increase the heat to medium high and add the sausage. Continue to cook, stirring until the sausage is browned. Stir in the tomato paste with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture starts sticking to the pan, about 5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and bay leaf. Mix well. Stir in the water. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, and simmer uncovered for an hour. (May simmer up to 2 hours, adding in more water periodically if the sauce gets too thick.
Remove the noodles from the package and cook according to package directions. Drain. Lay out the cooked pasta in a single layer on a 15-inch sheet of aluminum foil to cool. (The foil will be re-used to cover the baking dish.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Greece a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Mix the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, and pepper in a medium size bowl. Assemble the lasagna.
Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce in the prepared baking dish. Arrange 5 noodles lengthwise over the sauce, over lapping the edges. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture and sprinkle 1 1/3 cups of mozzarella cheese over the pasta.
Repeat the layers two more times, ending with the mozzarella. Dot the butter around the edges. Cover with the foil and bake 35-40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.