1 aubergine, sliced lengthways
3 courgettes, sliced lengthways
About 300ml/½pt olive oil
2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthways
2 small onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
750g/¾lb minced beef
3 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
12 turns black peppermill
100g/4oz plain flour
750ml/1 pt full-fat milk
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
150g graviera cheese (or Gruyère if unavailable), freshly grated
- Salt the aubergine and courgette slices
- Leave them for about 30 minutes
- Rinse, then rinse and dry on kitchen paper.
- Fry in plenty of the olive oil over a medium heat until lightly browned and starting to soften
- Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
- Fry the potatoes in the same way.
- In a separate pan, heat 70ml of the olive oil
- Fry the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the minced beef and brown it
- Add the tomatoes, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, 1½ tsp salt and the pepper.
- Simmer for 30–40 minutes.
- When done, remove the cinnamon and bay leaf.
- In a deep ovenproof dish, about 24cm x 35cm, arrange the potatoes in a layer.
- Top with a third of the beef, then the aubergine, another third of the beef, the courgettes, and finish with the remaining beef.
- Heat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat
- Stir in the flour
- Cook for 2 minutes so it loses its raw taste.
- Slowly incorporate the milk, and continue stirring until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from the heat
- Whisk in the eggs, nutmeg and 100g of the grated cheese.
- Spread the béchamel over the layered meat and vegetables
- Top with a further 50g grated cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes in the oven pre0heated to 220°C.
- Remove from oven
- Leave to cool.
- Serve warm.