Zucchini Mousaka

Zucchini Mousaka

1 1/2 pounds zucchini, scrubbed and cut lengthwise in 1/3 inch thick slices

1/2 pound ground lean lamb or beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, dried oregano leaves and salt
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup uncooked converted white rice
half a 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons stick butter or margarine
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly grease a shallow 2 quart baking dish. Bring 3 cups water to boil in a large nonstick skillet. Add zucchini, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Filling: Wipe skillet. Add lamb, onion and garlic Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Stir in cinnamon oregano and salt, then remaining filling ingredients. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times as spinach thaws. Stir in tomato sauce. Remove from heat.

Topping: Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring 1 to 2 minutes without letting mixture brown. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, whisking constantly, 4 to 5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Whisk about 1/3 the hot mixture into beaten eggs, then whisk egg mixture into remaining sauce. Remove from heat; stir in nutmeg.

Heat oven to 350F. To assemble: Cover bottom of prepared baking dish with half the zucchini slices. Spoon on all the Filling, then cover with remaining zucchini. Pour on Topping and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly and top is lightly golden. Serves 4.

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