Embarrassed to say how long it took me to prepare, (2 hours plus baking time!), but the results were worth it. Left out the eggplant, but it still tasted wonderful! Took several pictures, but unable to post them. It makes a gorgeous presentation for guests and family! Other recipies suggest that it's ok to replace the lamb with veal, pork or even ground beef... but I can't imagine that it would be as good. Give this one a try and you'll feel like you've created a masterpiece when it's served! (Note: be Sure to have a large enough baking dish!)
- 1 (8-ounce) package elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (16-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Olive oil
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups warm milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
- Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain well, and set aside.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven. Add lamb, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender. Drain off pan drippings; discard.
- Add tomatoes, oregano, nutmeg, and cinnamon to Dutch oven. Simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes or until liquid has evaporated; cool.
- Add 3 eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and macaroni, mixing well. Spread macaroni mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish.
- Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet; broil 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Layer eggplant slices over macaroni mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.
- Gradually stir one-fourth of hot mixture into 4 eggs; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Pour over eggplant-macaroni mixture. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
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