Peel the eggplants and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick. Place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 1 hour to drain off the bitter juices.
FOR MEAT SAUCE: In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until the meat loses its redness and starts to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, wine, oregano, parsley, cinnamon and ground cloves or allspice and simmer over low heat until thickened and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. If it begins to look too dry, add a little water. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and the spices. Set aside.
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the eggplant slices with cool water, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Place on baking sheets, brush the tops with olive oil and bake in the oven, turning once and brushing on the second side with oil, until tender, golden and translucent, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
FOR BECHAMEL SAUCE: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. (Do not brown.) Gradually whisk in the hot milk and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add the nutmeg, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and ricotta until well blended, then whisk into the hot sauce.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
TO ASSEMBLE: Oil an 11-by-15-inch baking dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs on the bottom of the dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in the dish and spoon the meat sauce over them. Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top and pour the béchamel evenly over the surface. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup bread crumbs and then with the cheese.
Bake until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.