Think of it as a lasagne that's made with vegetables rather than pasta, if you will. It takes a little time to prepare the two sauces, but once they're made the dish is easy to assemble and the final result is well worth it.
Ingredients:1kg (2 lbs) waxy potatoes (eg Charlotte), scrubbed clean but not peeled
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large aubergine (eggplant), sliced
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) lamb
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato purée
400g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
leaves from 3 sprigs of oregano, finely shredded
1 tsp sugar
25g (1 oz) butter
2 tbsp plain flour
375ml (1 1/2 cups) milk
125ml (1/2 cup) vegetable stock
3 tomatoes, sliced
75g (3 oz) freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Method:Bring a pan of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and allow to cool slightly then remove the skins and slice the potatoes.
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Add the aubergine (eggplant) slices and fry in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove with tongs and set aside on kitchen paper to drain.
Add the remaining oil to the pan, stir in the minced lamb and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until nicely browned on all sides. Season with the black pepper and cinnamon then stir in the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and oregano. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste then stir in the sugar. Take off the heat and set aside.
For the white sauce, melt the butter in a pan, scatter over the flour and stir to form a smooth roux. Whisk in the milk and stock until smooth then cook, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Spoon layers of the mince mixture and potatoes into the base of a baking dish, starting with a layer of mince. Top with overlapping layers of the fried aubergines and then the tomato slices. Spoon over the white sauce then sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese.
Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 190ºC (375ºF, Gas Mark 5) and bake for about 40 minutes, or until bubbling and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into wedges and serving.