The recipe we are sharing today is from the family of a Greek friend, Vassilios, whom I asked to help me give my children a taste of this traditional Greek dish: Aubergine Mussakàs.
Mussakàs can be prepared with aubergines only, or by adding potatoes as well. For carbohydrate reasons, I chose to make it with aubergines only, but given the success of the dish, I think I will also try the mixed version soon.
Of course, we will also share it with you, as well as another recipe with an oriental flavour: Falafel.
The original recipe calls for aubergines to be fried in oil and, in some cases, a little butter. I preferred to grill the aubergines in the oven to make the dish lighter. I also took the liberty of doing the same with the béchamel in terms of both quantity and egg content.
But believe me, the result was very satisfying!
5.5g carbohydrates per 100g
- 1.5kg aubergines, preferably round
- 750g minced meat (to taste, mixed is also fine)
- 500g tomato sauce (or 750g fresh tomatoes in season)
- 150g Roman pecorino cheese (kefalotyri in Greek), grated
- 100g onions
- 100g white wine
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
- extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
- optional cloves and/or cinnamon, to be added to the minced meat sauce (this is Vassilios’s mother’s secret)
Ingredients for the béchamel sauce
- 600g milk
- 60g wholemeal rice flour*
- 30g butter
- 2 eggs
- 5g salt
- cinnamon and nutmeg
*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on Prontuario AIC)
Preparation of Aubergine Mussakàs
- Put the minced meat in a pan with the onion and fry well with oil. Stir often so that the meat does not create lumps and does not stick; douse with the wine, then add tomato sauce, parsley, salt, pepper and possibly 2-4 cloves and/or ½ cinnamon stick to be removed at the end.
Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 1.5 hours, until the sauce has thickened… almost like a meat sauce.
- Meanwhile, wash and dry the aubergines, cut them into thin slices and grill them in the oven at 180°C until cooked.
Prepare the béchamel sauce. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then remove from the heat and add the rice flour to create a creamy mixture; gradually add the milk, continuing to stir with a whisk so that no lumps form, return to the heat adding salt and pepper and stir until the béchamel sauce is thick and almost starts to boil. At this point, remove the pan from the heat and add the already beaten eggs, mixing everything well. Sprinkle half of the grated Pecorino cheese into the meat sauce and mix well.
- Now let’s assemble the dish!
Arrange the aubergines in parallel rows in the baking dish and cover them with a layer of minced meat; form a second layer of aubergines and cover them again with a layer of meat.
- Finally, finish with a generous amount of béchamel sauce, the remaining cheese and a grating of nutmeg.
- Bake the Mussakàs at 180°C for about 40 minutes.
Version with gluten of Aubergine Mussakàs
The recipe given is naturally gluten-free, so no adaptation is needed for the version with gluten.