One of my favorite Greek dishes is Moussaka, a dish that includes ground lamb or beef, eggplant, and tomatoes, but it takes too long to make for a week night – a traditional preparation takes about 2.5 hours.
Recently, I was craving those flavors, but it was already 6:00 and I had plans at 7:30, so I decided to cheat and make a “moussaka-inspired” pasta dish. Again, my friend Claire turned in to the guinea pig du jour and she said it was a pretty good fake. It also made enough for 3 frozen lunches so it was a great way to turn a quick meal into a full meal plan.
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Sweet red peppers, chopped
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 lb ground buffalo meat
About a cup of tomato sauce
1 Bay Leaf
Penne pasta, cooked (I used whole wheat)
Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes. (This helps make it tender and not chewy.) Rinse well and pat dry.
Saute the onions, garlic and red sweet peppers in olive oil until the onions are transparent. Add the ground meat and cook until browned. Add the eggplant, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaf and tomato sauce. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Adjust the seasoning as necessary –
I like a lot of cinnamon (about 1 Tbsp), but other recipes call for much less. Remove the bay leaf.
Plate the pasta, top with sauce and sprinkle feta over the top.