Our version of this traditional Greek casserole tastes like it was made in a restaurant. A magical restaurant that only makes vegan moussaka all day long and delivers it instantly to anyone who reads this recipe aloud three times and clicks her heels. Okay, that part is a lie, but we promise, if you follow the instructions, this outrageous casserole will be yours. Just imagine delicate layers of roasted eggplant, potatoes, and zucchini topped with a sublime cinnamon-spiked tomato sauce and a creamy pine nut custard. Our testers and friends can't stop raving about the pine nut cream and often just make that to incorporate into other baked dishes.
Serves 6 to 8
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly oil three baking sheets or shallow pans.
Wash the eggplant and zucchini, and trim the stems. Scrub and peel the potatoes. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes lengthwise, into approximately 1/4-inch thick slices. Rub the eggplant slices with a little salt and set aside in a colander in the sink or in a big bowl for about 15 minutes to drain. Briefly rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Place each vegetable on a separate baking sheet. Distribute the 1/4 cup of oil among the three sheets and sprinkle vegetables with salt (except the eggplant if salted already). Toss to coat the vegetables on each sheet. Making sure each piece is completely coated with oil. Drizzle a little extra oil on the eggplant, as it has a slight tendency to stick (or if you're really paranoid, place the eggplant slices on oiled baking parchment). Spread out the vegetables on each sheet; some overlapping is okay. Roast the pans of zucchini and eggplant for 15 minutes, or until tender. Roast the potatoes for about 20 to 22 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the vegetables to cool.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and minced garlic in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat and let the garlic sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until slightly reduced, another 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, ground cinnamon, and bay leaf. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should reduce slightly. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and adjust the salt.
In a food processor, blend the pine nuts and lemon juice, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until a creamy paste forms. Add the tofu, garlic, arrowroot, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Blend until creamy and smooth.
Lightly oil a 9 x 13 inch pan and preheat the oven again to 400˚F, if necessary. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on the pan, then add successive layers in order of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and half of the bread crumbs. Spread all the zucchini on top of this. Top with a final layer each of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and breadcrumbs. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the pine nut cream over the entire top layer. Scatter a few pine nuts on top, if desired.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a few cracks have formed in the topping. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
The zucchini will likely be very watery after roasting, so when it's cool enough to touch, gently but firmly squeeze the slices, by the handful, to remove any excess water. This will prevent an overly wet casserole and will help concentrate the flavors. See our tips for roasting summer squash (page 35), for further suggestions.
This reheats nicely and tastes even better the next day. Serve with slices of crusty peasant bread, and a simple tomato and cucumber salad dressed with Mediterranean Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette (page 94).