I love traditional Moussaka but when I’m looking for quick and easy, sometimes it involves a bit more work than I would like. I developed this pasta bake for busy evenings, and I like it because it holds well in the oven – great if you are not exactly sure what time dinner is going to be! Leftovers are delicious the next day too.
Easy Moussaka Style Pasta Bake
Serves 6 generously
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 pound mince beef
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 eggplant, cubed
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then in half moons
½ cup red wine or beef stock
2 cups passata or tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper
generous pinch of nutmeg, freshly ground if possible
2 cups dried pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 generous tablespoons flour
about 2½ cups milk
1 cup grated cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C).
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the onion over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the mince beef and start to brown. After two or three minutes, grate in the garlic and add the eggplant. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mince beef is cooked through and the eggplant is beginning to soften.
Add the mushrooms and the zucchini, along with the red wine or beef stock. Cook for a minute or two; then stir in the tomato sauce and oregano. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are all tender.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook the roux for a minute or two, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk, a bit at a time, stirring and allowing to thicken after each addition. (You may not need all the milk.) When you have a fairly thick and creamy sauce, stir in the cheese and allow to melt through. You may need to add a bit more milk if the cheese thickens the sauce too much. Taste the sauce and add a bit of salt and pepper if necessary.
Drain the pasta and return to the saucepan. Set aside.
Taste the meat, tomato and vegetable mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir the sauce through the pasta and spread evenly in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole.
Pour the cheese sauce over top.
Sprinkle with the parsley.
Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese sauce topping is beginning to turn golden brown. Serve with salad and crusty bread.
If you liked this post you may also enjoy: