Cook2 hrs 10 mins
This recipe is not for the faint-hearted cook. It's very good, and it takes a lot of work. Don't waste it on someone who would be just as satisfied with steak and salad! This recipe is sized for a large cake pan. If you cut the recipe in half it will fit into an ordinary lasagna-size baking dish. Approximate measurement OK for eggplant, tomato mixture.
- 2 large onions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups mushrooms, minced, ground (if you insist upon using meat substitute 1 lb beef/lamb)
- 3 tomatoes, peeled and pureed
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3⁄4 cup dry red wine
- 1⁄2 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 cups milk
- 1⁄2 cup butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
- olive oil
- 3 lbs eggplants
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 2 cups kefalotyri or 2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
- First make the tomato sauce: peel and mince onions. Saute onions in 2 Tbsp oil and 2 Tbsp butter, over moderate heat, until they are soft and lightly colored (about 8 minutes). Add mush- rooms and saute. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, parsley, seasonings and sugar.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, and the mixture is quite thick. Remove skillet from heat and let it cool completely.
- Start seasoning the eggplants: peel eggplants and slice vertically, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Now make the Bechamel Sauce. NOTE: The Bechamel-egg-ricotta mixture will overflow all but the largest (professional size) food processors. Use a mixer or blend by hand.Place the milk in a saucepan, and heat it just until tiny bubbles appear along the edges. Remove and set aside.
- Melt the butter in 3-quart saucepan over very low heat until foamy, being careful not to brown. Slowly add the 6 Tbsp flour, stirring constantly until smooth (3-4 minutes), and still being careful not to let it brown.
- Add the milk slowly, whipping with a wire whisk. When the mixture is thick and smooth, remove it from the heat and stir in seasonings.
- Stir ricotta cheese until it is smooth and creamy. Gently fold it into the Bechamel sauce. Stir in beaten eggs until thoroughly incorporated.
- Back to the eggplant: Rinse well with cold water; squeeze gently and pat dry. Dredge the eggplant in 1 1/2 cups flour, and saute each in olive oil until it is brown on both sides.
- Remove and discard any excess oil that has risen to the top of the tomato mixture. Lightly grease a 16x10 baking pan that is at least 3 inches deep, and sprinkle the bottom with a few breadcrumbs.
- Place a layer of eggplant in the pan, following with a layer of tomato mixture. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Repeat as many times as you have eggplant to last. Pour the Bechamel-ricotta sauce over the top and bake at 300 deg. F for one hour, or until a golden-brown crust has formed on top.
- Remove moussaka from oven and let it stand undisturbed 20-30 minutes; the delay allows the layers to fuse.