Aired August 28, 2007
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 pinches of cinnamon (eyeball it)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 small eggplant, half-peeled and chopped into small dice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 teaspoon (eyeball it) freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped, about 2 handfuls
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- For the salad:
- 1 pound spinach leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
Bring a large pot water to a boil, salt it and cook pasta to al dente.
Preheat a large, deep skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add the lamb and cook until brown, about 3-4 minutes; breaking it up into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Add in the garlic and chopped onions, season with allspice, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another couple of minutes while you chop eggplant.
Peel off half the skin of the eggplant (I leave a little skin on for texture and flavor). Chop the eggplant into a very small dice. Add the eggplant to the lamb and cook until it becomes soft, about 8-10 minutes.
In a saucepot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute then whisk in the milk and thicken, about 5 minutes. Bring this mixture up to a bubble and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add this bechamel into the meat skillet and stir to combine. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, giving it a toss to mix everything up. Add the chopped parsley and grated cheese, and stir to combine.
For the salad, mix together the spinach, onion, feta cheese, dill and the lemon juice in a large salad bowl. Season with black pepper (the feta cheese is very salty so you might not need any extra salt). Drizzle with about 3 tablespoons EVOO and serve alongside the Moussaka Pasta Toss!