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Vegetable Moussaka

3 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/2 cup olive oil, (about)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons butter, (3/4 stick)
7 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks

Cover 2 baking sheets with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of
eggplant rounds with salt. Arrange eggplant in single layer atop
towels. Let stand 30 minutes.

Position first rack in bottom third of oven and second rack in top
third of oven and preheat to 425=F8F. Remove eggplant and paper
towels from baking sheets. Pat eggplant dry. Oil same baking
sheets. Brush both sides of eggplant rounds with 1/4 cup oil.
Arrange in single layer on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Turn
eggplant and rotate pans in oven. Continue baking until tender,
about 15 minutes longer. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.

Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high
heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Saute until onion is very
tender, about 12 minutes. Mix in garlic, then mushrooms. Sauet=82
until juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Mix in oregano and
cinnamon. Add tomatoes and parsley. Cook until mixture is thick,
about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange half of eggplant
rounds in single layer in dish. Spoon half of tomato mixture evenly
over eggplant. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Repeat layering
with remaining eggplant, tomato mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese.

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in
flour. Stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer until
sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in
1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk yolks in large
bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot sauce. Pour sauce over
vegetables in dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over sauce. (Can be
made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

Bake moussaka until heated through and sauce is golden brown on
top, about 45 minutes (or about 55 minutes for refrigerated moussaka).
Cool 15 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.


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