Moussaka a la Grecque
- 3 medium eggplants
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 onions, chopped
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Pinch cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 quart whole milk, heated
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- Pinch nutmeg
- 2 cups ricotta
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Peel the eggplant and slice it crosswise 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides of each slice lightly with salt, arrange in 1 layer on paper towels and let drain for 30 minutes.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat; add as many slices as will fit in 1 layer and brown on both sides. Repeat the procedure with 4 tablespoons of the remaining oil and the remaining eggplant. Drain the eggplant as they are cooked on paper towels.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the onion to the skillet and cook until the onions are brown. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink. Combine the tomato paste with the wine, parsley, and cinnamon. Add this mixture to the skillet and simmer over low heat, stirring often, until all the liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
In a sauce pan, over low heat, melt the butter, add the flour and whisk for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat to moderate and add the milk in a stream, whisking. Simmer for 5 minutes, add salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat. Cool slightly and stir in the eggs, nutmeg, and ricotta.
Grease and 11 by 16-inch pan and sprinkle the bottom lightly with bread crumbs. Arrange alternating layers of eggplant and meat sauce in the pan, sprinkling each layer with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Pour the egg sauce over the top and bake one hour in a preheat 350 degree oven, or until top is golden. Let cool twenty minutes before slicing.
Recipe adapted from The New York Times Cookbook, Craig Claiborne, Harper/Rowe, 1961