Vegetarian Moussaka

(8 votes)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves, rubbed
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 large eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté onion 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in mushrooms and zucchini and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in next 6 ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside. Turn on broiler. Arrange eggplant slices on an oiled broiler rack. Broil 3-4 minutes per side until browned. Set aside.

Make béchamel sauce by scalding milk in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat until tiny bubbles appear. Remove from heat. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until just bubbling. Do not brown. Slowly whisk in the flour, stirring constantly until smooth. Do not brown. Slowly whisk in hot milk, stirring constantly 2-3 minutes until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in seasonings and set aside to cool slightly. Beat ricotta cheese in a bowl until creamy. Gently fold ricotta into the béchamel sauce. Stir in beaten eggs until thoroughly incorporated.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and sprinkle the bottom with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs. Place a layer of eggplant in the pan. Spread a layer of tomato mixture over top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering as long as ingredients last. Pour the ricotta sauce over the top and bake 1 hour, or until top is golden. Transfer moussaka to a wire rack and let stand 20-30 minutes before slicing.

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