6-8 small to medium eggplants, halved
1lb of extra lean ground beef
4 tbsp of olive oil
2 large onions, diced
3 bay leaves
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 can of plum tomatoes, pureed (or Pomodoro)
1/2 cup white wine
3 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 recipe for Bechamel Sauce
1 cup grated Kefalotiri cheese
1. Wash and dry the eggplants, trim off the stems and cut in half, lengthwise. Score the inside using your knife (without cutting through the skins) to make a criss-cross pattern.
2. Drizzle the eggplant halves with olive oil and season with salt. Place facedown in a parchment-lined baking sheet in a preheated 400F oven (middle rack), bake for 30 minutes or until just soft to the touch. Reserve.
3. Make your filling: in a heavy sauce pan, saute your onions, garlic, bay leaves, some salt for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Now add ground beef and and saute until browned. Add your wine, tomato sauce, oregano, parsley and simmer until thick. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. In about 30-45 minutes you should have a thick sauce. Stir in your cinnamon and set aside.
4. Make your Bechamel Sauce and reserve .
5. Place your eggplant halves in a roasting pan. Use a ladle to press down into the eggplants to make a cradle out of each. Sprinkle some cheese on the bottoms, then spoon in the meat sauce into each cavity. Now spoon the bechamel sauce over the meat sauce and top with grated cheese. Bake in a pre-heated 425F oven for approx. 40 minutes. The tops should be a nice golden-brown.
6. Allow to rest 15 minutes then serve warm.