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  • Kristin Ramey



  • 2 cups plus 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 6 bay leaves

  • 2 sticks cinnamon

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 lb. ground beef

  • 1⁄4 cup tomato paste

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting

  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves

  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp. sugar

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1 cup flour

  • 4 cups milk

  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 3 large eggplant, cut into 1/4″-thick slices

  • 5 medium russet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1 cup coarsely grated graviera or Gruyère

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and onion; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beef; cook until all liquid evaporates and meat is browned, about 30 minutes. Add tomato paste, 1 1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1⁄4 tsp. nutmeg, and cloves; cook until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, and 2 cups water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered partially, until almost all liquid is evaporated, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove from heat; discard cinnamon and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper; set meat sauce aside. Heat butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg, and milk; cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; pour into a blender with eggs. Blend until smooth; set béchamel aside.

  2. Heat oven to 350°. Heat remaining oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Dust eggplant with cinnamon; working in batches, fry in oil until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes; cook until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain; set aside.

  3. Spread 1 cup béchamel on bottom of a 10″ x 14″ baking dish; sprinkle with 1⁄3 cup graviera. Spread potatoes over cheese; top with eggplant. Pour meat sauce over eggplant; spread remaining béchamel over meat sauce. Sprinkle with remaining graviera; bake until golden brown, about 1 hour.

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