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Wood Fire Lasagne

We know this is a very cheeky claim given the number of lasagne recipes available on the web. But still, we proudly make the statement: this is the best lasagne ever (in our not-so-humble opinion, of course). The spiciness of Italian sausage, the creaminess of ricotta cheese and the smooth richness of the béchamel topping combine with tangy tomato sauce to give this recipe an added “something special.” Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Preparation
1. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet; add diced onions and sauté over medium high heat for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and ground sausage meat, and continue to sauté, stirring frequently until the meat is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Mix the water with the tomato sauce. The sauce needs to be thin and runny when using oven-ready noodles as the noodles will absorb extra moisture during baking. Set tomato sauce mixture aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with the beaten egg, parmesan cheese, pepper and basil.

4. To prepare the béchamel, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the melted butter along with the basil and grinding of pepper. Whisk this roux for a minute or two before slowly adding the milk. Continue whisking until the béchamel thickens. This will happen when the sauce is just under the boiling point so watch it carefully while you whisk. Remove from heat.

5. Pre-heat the Memphis Pellet Grill to 375 F while you assemble the lasagne.

6. Spray a 9” x 13” baking pan with cooking oil. Ladle 1 ½ C of the thinned tomato sauce into the pan and spread it around evenly. Place three oven-ready lasagne noodles side-by-side on top of the sauce leaving a bit of room around the noodles. They will expand slightly during baking. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and spread it around gently. Sprinkle half of the cooked sausage mixture on top of the ricotta and distribute 1 C of the grated mozzarella evenly over the meat. Pour another 1 ½ C of tomato sauce on top of the cheese. Add three more noodles and spread the remaining ricotta around on top. Distribute the rest of the sausage evenly and pour the remaining tomato sauce over the ricotta and meat layers. Sprinkle with 1 more cup of the mozzarella. Top with three more noodles, pour the prepared béchamel over everything then sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella. Cover with foil.

7. Place the foil covered lasagne on the middle of the bottom rack of the pre-heated Memphis. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes until the noodles are soft and the top is a nice golden brown and bubbly. Let the lasagne rest for at least 20 minutes. Serve garnished with sprigs of fresh basil.

8. Serves 9 - 12 people
Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium cooking onion, small dice
1 lb Italian Sausage meat (hot or mild, your choice)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through a press
16 oz. jar tomato sauce (your favorite brand)
¼ - ½ C water
1 lb ricotta cheese ( 1 tub)
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ C parmesan cheese, fine grate
Grinding of fresh pepper
1 tsp dried basil, or 1 T minced fresh leaves
3 C mozzarella cheese, grated
9 oven-ready lasagne noodles
For the Béchamel Topping
¼ C butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 C milk
1 tsp basil
Pinch of salt
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