Preparation / Directions:
1. Make White Sauce: Bring milk to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Melt butter in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, bay leaf and salt; bring to boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf and stir in Parmesan.
2. Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt; drain in colander 30 minutes. Pat dry. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and cook, stirring, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 375øF. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to skillet. Add onions and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cinnamon and red pepper; cook 15 seconds. Add meat, mint, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper; cook, stirring, until meat is no longer pink. Add tomato paste and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with spoon. Add eggplant and bring to simmer; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
4. Transfer cooked ziti to large bowl and stir in 1 cup White Sauce. Spread half the ziti in bottom of deep 5-quart casserole. Spoon on filling, then remaining ziti and White Sauce. Bake uncovered 25 to 35 minutes, until bubbly and browned.
Makes 8 servings. Prep time: 1 hour Baking time: 25 to 35 minutes