Serves 6


For the Eggplant

  • 2 large eggplants, about 2 lbs total
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt for seasoning
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt for spice mixture
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

For the Potatoes

  • 2 lbs (about 4-5) medium potatoes (Yukon Gold suggested)
  • pot of cold water (enough to cover potatoes by 1")
  • ½ tsp salt

For the Meat Mixture

  • 1½ lbs lean ground beef (can also use lamb)
  • 3 tbsp light olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups (about 1 large) yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup (1-2 large) tomatoes, seeded & diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

For the Béchamel

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of white pepper
  • ⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  • 9" x 12" baking dish


Cook Eggplant & Potatoes

  1. Using a sharp peeler or paring knife, partially peel the eggplants, leaving strips of peel about 1” wide around the eggplant. After eggplant is peeled, slice into ½” planks (slices) lengthwise
  2. Place eggplant slices on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and salt them liberally on each side
  3. Let them sit for at least 15-20 minutes to 1 hour. The process removes some of the moisture and helps to remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350º
  5. Place Yukon Gold potatoes with the skins on in a pot of cold water (enough to cover the potatoes by 1") and ½ tsp salt. Bring to a boil, cooking for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, not mushy, but still slightly undercooked in the middle
  6. Drain the water and allow potatoes to cool slightly
  7. With a knife remove skin from potatoes and slice into ½” planks (slices) lengthwise. Set aside for assembly
  8. Transfer eggplant to the sink and wash over cool water. Pat dry on clean paper towels
  9. Lightly brush eggplant with olive oil on both sides, and season both sides with a mix of 1 tbsp each kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder
  10. Roast on a baking sheet in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool and set aside for assembling

Cook Meat Mixture

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a sauté pan on medium-high
  2. Add ground beef (or lamb) and brown well. Remove from heat, drain grease, and set aside
  3. Return pan to the stove and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add onions and cook until slightly caramelized, about 5-10 minutes
  4. Return meat to the pan with garlic, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, wine, oregano, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened
  5. Remove from heat, stir in parsley and set aside for assembling.  Make sure to remove cinnamon stick prior to use

Make Béchamel Sauce

  1. Add milk, onion piqué (½ onion half studded with 3 whole cloves and bay leaf) to a saucepan. Bring up to a scald (just shy of a boil) over medium-high heat, then shut off heat. Remove the onion (make sure cloves and bay leaf are removed as well)
  2. Melt butter in a separate heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat
  3. Whisk in flour. The mixture should resemble wet sand, cooking about 1 minute
  4. Slowly whisk in milk mixture one ladle at a time, whisking continuously until incorporated.  Allow sauce to cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and just about to come to a boil. It will take about 5 minutes
  5. Season with a pinch of salt, white pepper and grated nutmeg and whisk to incorporate
  6. Remove from heat, let cool 2-3 minutes
  7. Gradually stir in cheese while whisking, then slowly add the beaten eggs, again while whisking

Assemble & Bake

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. In a lasagna pan or casserole dish approximately 9" X 12", lay half of the eggplant on the bottom in a solid layer, trimming the eggplant to fit, if needed
  3. Spread meat mixture evenly over eggplant, followed by an even layer of potatoes
  4. Layer the rest of the eggplant atop the potatoes, then spread the white sauce evenly over the top. Bake casserole for 40 minutes, uncovered on a cookie sheet (to catch any potential spillover) until browned on top and bubbly
  5. Remove from oven, slice and serve immediately

Note: Components can be prepared up to 1 day ahead, then assembled and baked

Recipe complements of
Phyllis Kaplowitz
Executive Chef, Bakers' Best Catering