Cook1 hr 20 mins
A wonderful way of creating four self-contained servings of moussaka. What makes it wonderful is the quality of the ricotta--the best way (and most economical)is to make your own.
- 2 (1 lb) eggplants, medium-sized
- kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus
- extra oil, for rubbing the eggplants
- 3⁄4 lb lean ground lamb
- 1⁄2 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, peeled, seeded and diced
- 3⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄2 cup fresh ricotta
- 1 1⁄3 cups fresh ricotta
- fresh ground pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1 -2 tablespoon milk
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- fresh parsley (to garnish)
- Halve the eggplants lengthwise and score the interior of each half, leaving about a third of an inch thickness on the perimeter.
- Use a paring knife and a spoon to scoop out the interior of the eggplant, leaving a 'boat.'.
- Using a fork, pierce the skin in several places, liberally salt the halves and place them upside down on paper towels to drain for about 30 minutes.
- Chop the eggplant flesh into 1/2" cubes and set aside 4 cups of the cubes (reserve any excess for another recipe).
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Wipe the eggplant shells out with paper towels, brush the skin lightly with a little olive oil, and place them on a baking sheet.
- Bake them until they are just tender (about ten minutes) then remove from the oven and set aside in a baking dish.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the lamb and cook, breaking up the pieces, until lightly browned--about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, 4 cups of eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is soft--about five more minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, cloves, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne and cook until the mixture is fairly dry.
- Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the ricotta.
- Season to taste and spoon into the 4 eggplant halves.
- Place the remaining 1 and 1/3 cups of ricotta in a small bowl and stir in the nutmeg and enough milk until the consistency of the cheese mixture is spreadable.
- Spread it over the filled eggplant halves and sprinkle the tops with parmesan.
- Bake until the tops are very brown--25 to 35 minutes.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
I made this for dinner tonight and would definitely not make again. The combination of spices is overwhelming and not good. It did not taste anything like Greek Moussaka. If I ever made something similar, I think I would just add salt, pepper and garlic. The flavor was somewhere between bad pie and I don't know what else. The vegetable and cheese combination could be good but I couldn't taste anything other than the over powering spices.
The ricotta adds so much to the overall flavor and texture of the dish.
I used a sweet red pepper instead of green. Also, added more cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick!
Would also make a great casserole with chopped up eggplant instead of stuffing the shells.
I've made this several times and its always a hit. Even people that don't like lamb OR eggplant like this. I only use 1/4 tsp. of clove otherwise I think its a little overpowering. I usually make my own ricotta as suggested. This is truly a wonderful dish. Thank you so much for posting it Chef Kate.