Vegetarian moussaka pasta bake
A Greek-Italian fusion recipe - rich tomato pasta baked with griddled aubergine and a creamy béchamel sauce. The perfect combination!
Servings: 4 servings
- 350 g (~ 3.5 cups) dried pasta
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 400 g tinned tomatoes (~ 1 1/3 cups)
- 400 g pizza sauce (~ 1 1/3 cups) - or similar rich tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Black pepper
- 1 large aubergine (eggplant)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 250 ml ~ 1 cup milk
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
Boil the pasta in plenty of water until cooked al dente, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large frying pan, and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until the vegetables are soft and translucent. Add the tinned tomatoes, pizza sauce, mint and cinnamon, along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce looks nice and rich. Add the cooked pasta, and mix well to combine.
Cut the aubergine lengthwise into thin slices. Place a few slices at a time into a hot griddle pan (or a hot frying pan, if you don't have a griddle pan), and cook for a minute or two on each side until char lines appear (if using a frying pan, you won't get char lines - just cook until the aubergine is soft). Repeat with the remaining slices.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a fairly low heat, and add the flour. Whisk together to form a roux, and mix for a minute or so over the heat to cook the flour. Add the milk a dash at a time, stirring until the mixture is smooth each time before adding more. Add the nutmeg and a good pinch of salt and pepper, and mix once more to combine.
To assemble the moussaka pasta bake, transfer the tomatoey pasta to a suitably sized baking dish, and top with the slices of griddled aubergine. Spread the béchamel sauce over the top, and finish with a few slices of tomato.
Bake at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 30 minutes, or until the béchamel sauce is just starting to brown.