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Ingredients

  • 500g  lamb mince
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp  ground allspice
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1 lamb stock cube
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 large aubergine, cut into 2cm chunks 
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 500ml  milk
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • a good grating nutmeg
  • 375g large pasta tubes, or tortiglioni
  • 2 tbsp of grated parmesan

Method

  • STEP 1

    Brown the mince in batches in a big non-stick frying pan. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep saucepan or casserole and fry the garlic for a minute. Stir in the browned mince, herbs and spices and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Tip in the tomatoes and wine and bring to a simmer, stirring up any meaty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Crumble in the stock cube, and add the sugar and some seasoning. Gently simmer for 30 minutes, splashing in water to keep it saucy if you need to.

  • STEP 2

    Using the pan you browned the mince in, brown the aubergines in 1 tbsp of olive oil.Add the aubergines to the mince and continue simmering gently for another 30 minutes.

  • STEP 3

    Meanwhile, make a béchamel sauce by melting the butter and flour together in a saucepan for a few minutes until they form a paste. Very gradually stir in the milk to make a smooth sauce, then bring to a gentle simmer and bubble for a few minutes until thick. Take off the heat and stir in the feta and egg with a little salt and some nutmeg. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

  • STEP 4

    Cook the pasta until a little under al dente, then drain well, before mixing into the lamb and aubergine ragu. Tip into a big baking dish, then pour over the feta béchamel. Scatter with the parmesan and some more grated nutmeg, and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

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