Vegetarian Moussaka (Greek Lasagna)
3-1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
6 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks, whisked in a small bowl
Preheat oven to 425°F. Salt both sides of eggplant rounds and place on a double layer of paper towels (top and bottom) to drain. Let stand for 30 minutes. Pat eggplant rounds dry. Then, brush eggplant rounds with 1/4 cup olive oil and place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes then turn eggplant and bake about 15 minutes more, or until tender. Remove from oven to cool and lower temperature to 350°F.
Heat a large saute pan to medium high heat, and add remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms. Saute until the juices evaporate - about 10 minutes. Add the oregano, cinnamon, tomatoes and parsley. Cook until the mixture is thick - about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Spray a 13x9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange half of the eggplant in a single layer. Spoon half of the tomato mixture on top. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese over the tomatoes. Repeat layering with eggplant, tomato mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese.
Next, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Temper the egg yolks by stirring about 1/2 cup of the cream sauce into the yolks. Mix to combine, then add the yolk mixture to the cream sauce. Pour the sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake about 45 minutes, or until heated through and the sauce and cheese on top are golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.