A classic and comforting dish, full of flavour with flexible options to suit everybody.
Layers of rich meaty sauce, flavoured with earthy Mediterranean spices and herbs, alternating with tender slices of aubergine, topped with a béchamel sauce enriched with egg yolks and cheese.
I like to make up a double quantity of the meat sauce, and freeze it so that next time I just have to cook the aubergines and béchamel before assembling - however, to avoid confusion, I've just put the quantities as you need them to serve six (they're easily doubled if you want to do this too - which is why I've separated the different parts of the dish to make it easier to double up the sauce).
This serves 6 people. If you're counting calories and keeping it lean with the skinny version, then this is from 347 calories per serving with skinny béchamel, steamed aubergines and extra lean beef mince. For a more luxurious and traditional version, it's 566 calories per serving as below, with oven-baked aubergines. You can switch which bits you please to suit you - the calories are split out for each ingredient to help you re-count. See Notes below for some of the variables.
You can make and assemble this a day or two in advance if you like, as it tastes even better the next day, sets nicely and is easier to cut once it's chilled - it will just need longer to cook from chilled.
Oh - and 'The Quick Cheat': If you don't want to faff about layering meat sauce with aubergines and potatoes and all that... well, you really don't have to for a simple supper. Just cook the meat sauce in a large pan which will fit underneath the grill (USA broiler) while you're cooking the aubergines/potatoes, and add in the tomatoes a little earlier (skip the egg white) to reduce down while you make the béchamel, then toss in the aubergines (and potatoes if using). Stir through and cook for a few minutes until the aubergines are heated through, then pour the béchamel over the top, scatter with the grated cheese, and pop under a pre-heated grill (broiler) until it's bubbling and browned (You could even Super-Cheat and just scatter over a block of crumbled feta if you didn't want to make the béchamel sauce, as a tasty alternative!). Set aside for a few minutes to cool, and serve with a fresh green salad (and some crusty bread)!