Food, Wine, Rock & Roll

Part food blog, part jam session

This is not a recipe for someone who is new to cooking or isn’t willing to spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen; be prepared to spend around 2 hours working on the prep & another hour in the actual cooking.  In the end, though, the time and effort are worth it, especially if you love Greek food (like I do) and can’t always go out for it.  Though it would be more “Greek” to use ground lamb in this recipe, I most often use ground beef and have found it to be just as tasty as it is with lamb.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 lbs. ground lamb or beef
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 1 qt. milk
  • 3 eggs
  • nutmeg
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs (I like to use the herb & garlic)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Peel the eggplants and cut them into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Brown the slices quickly in 4 tablespoons of the butter.  Set aside & cover to keep warm.

Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet and cook the onions until they are brown.

Add the ground meat and cook 10 minutes.

Combine the tomato paste with the wine, parsley, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.  Stir this mixture into the meat and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove the mixture from heat.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Make a white sauce by melting 8 tablespoons of butter and blending in the flour, stirring with a whisk.

Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter/flour mixture, stirring constantly.

When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove it from the heat.

Cool slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg, and ricotta cheese.

Grease an 11×16 inch pan and sprinkle the bottom lightly with bread crumbs.

Arrange alternate layers of eggplant and meat sauce in the pan, sprinkling each layer with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.

Pour the ricotta cheese sauce over the top and bake one hour, or until top is golden.

Remove from the oven and cool 20-30 minutes before serving.


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