The great lamb pie

The great lamb pie

Grande pasticcio

8 or more
Laura Edwards

This is the Italian version of moussaka. A simpler dish is made in the south of Italy in the region of Puglia, where part of the population speaks Greek, and still has some culinary culture reminding them of the old country. This is the predecessor of the parmigiana di melanzane from Sicily.


Quantity Ingredient
olive oil, for deep-frying
2 large potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
2 large aubergines, trimmed and thickly sliced
2 large courgettes, trimmed and thickly sliced
200g gruyere cheese, grated


Quantity Ingredient
extra virgin olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2kg lean minced lamb
600g tomatoes, coarsely chopped to a pulp, or the equivalent of tinned chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
plenty freshly ground black pepper

Bechamel sauce

Quantity Ingredient
200g unsalted butter
150g plain flour
2 litres milk


  1. Heat some olive oil in a deep-frying pan or deep-fryer. Deep-fry the large slices of potato, aubergine and courgette in batches until nearly cooked, then set aside on absorbent kitchen paper.
  2. Make the ragù filling next. Heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, and fry the garlic for a minute or two. Add the mince and stir well, letting it brown. When it is uniformly brown, add the tomatoes, bay leaves and cinnamon and stir-fry for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then put a lid on and leave to braise for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  4. Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a medium pan, then stir in the flour until smooth. Pour in a little milk at a time, stirring constantly, until all the milk has been added, and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and leave it to cool.
  5. Now assemble the pie. Use a large pie dish of at least 7.5cm in depth. Grease it with a little olive oil, then put in a layer of fried potato topped with some of the ragù. Top this with the fried aubergine, then some more ragù. Finally, put the fried courgette on top with a layer of the remaining ragù. Top the lot with the béchamel sauce, smoothing it gently over everything. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let it rest briefly before serving, perhaps with a green salad.
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