INGREDIENTS: Béchamel Sauce
3 cups milk
2 Tbsps. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
3 tsp. garlic powder
kosher salt/pepper to taste
1 lb. ground lamb meat
2 oz. dried cherries or currants
5 Tbsps. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 onion, diced
½ oz. ground cumin
½ oz. ground cinnamon
1 qt. béchamel (recipe below)
½ cup mint, chopped
3 medium-sized eggplant, sliced thin
9 pasta sheets
¼ cups ricotta salata cheeseDIRECTIONS:1. For sauce: In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir to create a roux. Brown a bit and slowly add the milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Reduce sauce (10 to 15 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a sauté pan over moderate heat, cook the onion, cumin, cinnamon and garlic until opaque. Add the lamb and roux, followed by the cherries, mint and 4 oz. of the reserved béchamel sauce.
3. Cook the pasta sheets in boiling water for seven minutes. Cool and set aside.
4. Cut the eggplant into round slices ¼ inch thick and salt them. Allow to drain on paper towels for about 30 minutes.
5. Dredge the eggplant in flour and then brown in olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
6. In a rectangular baking dish, layer the eggplant, meat mixture and pasta sheets and repeat this step again.
7. Cover the top layer of pasta with the rest of the béchamel sauce and a light layer of ricotta salata cheese. Bake in a 375°F oven for 23-25 or until the cheese melts and browns.SERVINGS:1, 9x12 panFrom:Executive Chef Lou Piuggi, United Nations Delegates’ Dining Room, New York City