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LOCATION: Recipes >> Vegetarian >> Moussaka 04

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VEGETARIAN MOUSSAKA
Serves twelve people

2 large onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups minced mushrooms
3 tomatoes, peeled and pur'eed
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp sugar

4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
6 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp white pepper

olive oil
3 lb eggplant
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 cups grated kefalotyri or parmesan cheese

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 mushrooms
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. Most of the liquid should be evaporated, and the
mixture 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: Place the milk in a saucepan, and heat
it just until tiny bubbles appear along the edges. Remove and set
aside.

Melt one cube 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
care- ful 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. Cool sauce slightly.

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.

Put it all together: Stir ricotta cheese until it is smooth and
creamy. Gently fold it into the Bechamel sauce. Stir in beaten
eggs until thoroughly incorporated.

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.

The Bechamel-egg-ricotta mixture will overflow all but the largest
(professional size) food processors. Use a mixer or blend by hand.

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.

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