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Vegetarian Moussaka with Ricotta Topping

Vegetarian Moussaka with Ricotta Topping from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection

 

This is a staple dish for us.

It has a lot of texture and is very tasty.

The only drawback is that it takes a long time to make.

But it is well worth it.

Great served with a salad.

This recipes is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines, each 8 oz (225 g)
  • 10 fl oz (275 ml) vegetable stock
  • 2 oz (50 g) Puy lentils
  • 2 oz (50 g) green lentils
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red pepper, de-seeded and chopped into ¼ inch (5 mm) dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 x 14 oz (400 g) tin chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 7 fl oz (200 ml) red wine
  • 2 level tablespoons tomato purée or sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 level tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped

For the topping:

  • 1 x 9 oz (250 g) tub ricotta (see recipe introduction)
  • 10 fl oz (275 ml) whole milk
  • 1 oz (25 g) plain flour
  • 1 oz (25 g) butter
  • ¼ whole nutmeg, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 oz (25 g) Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), freshly grated (see recipe introduction)
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).
You will also need a shallow dish about 9 x 9 x 2½ inches (23 x 23 x 6 cm) deep.

Method

  1. Begin by preparing the aubergines: to do this cut them into ½ inch (1 cm) dice leaving the skins on. Place them in a colander, sprinkling with salt between each layer, then put a small plate with a heavy weight on top – this will draw out any excess juices.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the stock into a saucepan together with the Puy lentils (but no salt), cover and simmer for 15 minutes before adding the green lentils. Cover again and cook for a further 15 minutes, by which time most of the liquid will have been absorbed and the lentils will be soft. While they’re cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large solid frying pan and fry the onions until they’re soft and tinged brown at the edges (about 5 minutes), then add the chopped pepper and soften and brown that too for about another 4 minutes. Next add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more, then transfer the whole lot to a plate.
  3. Next transfer the aubergines to a clean tea cloth to squeeze them dry, then add a further 2 tablespoons of oil to the frying pan, turn the heat up to high and toss the aubergines in it so they get evenly cooked. When they’re starting to brown a little, add the drained tomatoes and the onion and pepper mixture to the pan. In a bowl mix the wine, tomato purée and cinnamon together, then pour it over the vegetables. Add the lentils and the chopped parsley, season well and let everything simmer gently while you make the topping.
  4. All you do is place the milk, flour, butter and nutmeg in a saucepan and, using a balloon whisk, whisk until it comes to simmering point and becomes a smooth glossy sauce. Season with salt and pepper, remove it from the heat and let it cool a little before whisking in the ricotta followed by the beaten egg.
  5. Finally, transfer the vegetable and lentil mixture to the dish and spoon the cheese sauce over the top, using the back of a spoon to take it right up to the edges. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and transfer the dish to the pre-heated oven and bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour. Then allow the moussaka to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
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