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from Cook's Illustrated

This Moussaka is delicious. Make it ahead of time and serve for a fabulous company dinner. Serve it with a Greek Salad.




  • 3 1/2 lbs eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tsp, plus 3 Tbsps EVOO, divided

  • 2 tsp table salt, divided

  • 3/4 tsp pepper, divided

  • 1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatos, unpeeled, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick

Meat Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp EVOO

  • 1 onion, chopped fine

  • 1/2 tsp table salt

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 Tbsp Tomatoe paste

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 2 tsp paprika

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 lb 80% lean ground beef

  • 1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar


  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk

  • 4 ounces Kasseri cheese, shredded (1 cup) The substitute is 3/4 cup provolone cheese and 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano

  • 1/4 tsp table salt

  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten


For the Vegetables

  1. Adjust the oven racks to middle and lower middle positions and heat the oven to 450. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Divide the eggplant evenly on the prepared sheets. Toss each batch with 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper until evenly coated and spread eggplant into a single layer.

  2. Roast until eggplant is softened and lightly browned, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating the sheets halfway through roasting.

  3. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool.

  4. Reduce oven heat to 400.


  1. While the eggplant roasts, grease a 13 x 9 baking pan with 2 tsp oil.

  2. In a medium microwave safe bowl, toss the potatoes with the remaining 3 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

  3. Cover and microwave until the potatoes can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through microwaving.

  4. Transfer potatoes, along with any accumulated liquid, to the prepared pan and let rest until cool enough to handle. Shingle the potatoes evenly in the dish.

For the Meat Sauce

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

  2. Add garlic and stir constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Add tomato paste and cook stirring frequently, until paste darkens, about 2 minutes.

  4. Stir in red wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

  5. Add paprika, oregano, pepper flakes, and cinnamon and cook, stirring frequently, until wine is almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. Add the beef, increase the heat to medium high and cook breaking meat until no pink remains, 4 to 5 minutes.

  7. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has almost completely evaporated and spoon leaves a trail when dragged through sauce, 6 to 8 minutes.

  8. Stir in vinegar, cover and remove from heat.

For the Bechamel

  1. Melt buttert in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick, smooth, and comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.

  2. Off heat whisk in cheese, salt, and nutmeg. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in egg yolks and cover to keep warm.

Put it together

  1. Cover the potatoes with eggplant, lightly pressing into an even layer.

  2. Spread meat sauce over the eggplant,

  3. Top with Bechamel.

  4. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until the top is deeply browned in spots and is bubbling at the edges, about 30 minutes.

  5. Let cool about 30 minutes before serving.

Serve with a Greek Salad.


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