Serves 8, with a green salad.
2 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 medium-sized garlic cloves
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
Fresh black pepper
2 cups diced onion, 1/4-inch dice
1 cup diced celery, 1/4-inch dice (2-3 large stalks)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp Aleppo pepper (or 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper)
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/2 lb thin egg noodles: hilopites, vermicelli, broken-up angel hair pasta, or any other similarly-shaped pasta
8 cups diced leeks, white and light green parts only, 1/2-inch dice (6 leeks)
3 Tbsp olive oil
Fresh black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for coating the baking pan (I used olive oil spray)
1 cup freshly grated kefalotyri, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Romano cheese, divided (I used the food processor for this)
Make the yogurt filling: Place the yogurt in a mixing bowl. Purée garlic by mashing it into the salt with the flat of a knife or in a mortar and pestle. Mix the puréed garlic into the yogurt, and set aside.
Make the meat sauce: In a large sauce pan or small stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the meat, season lightly with salt and black pepper, and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up any clumps, until it is nicely browned. Add the onions and celery and sauté until the onions begin to brown. Stir in the garlic and Aleppo pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and white wine and bring to a boil. Cook rapidly for five minutes, stirring constantly. Turn the heat down to medium, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid in the sauce has evaporated. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Stir in the mint and take the sauce off the burner.
Cook the noodles: Add the noodles to boiling salted water and cook until they’re half done. (Because the noodles are small, they cook quickly.) Drain and set aside.
Make the leeks: Trim the root end off the leeks, and cut off the leaves just at the point where the white part of the leek begins. (Save the trimmed leaves for soup stock.) Cut the leeks lengthwise, and discard the outermost layer. Cut the rest into 1/2-inch dice and place in a very large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water, and swoosh the leeks around to loosen any dirt. Let sit for 5 minutes. In a nonstick frying pan, heat the oil. Gently scoop off the leeks, without disturbing the sediment that has settled to the bottom of the bowl, and add the leeks to the hot pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and sauté until the leeks are soft.
Make the topping: Whisk together the eggs, cream, a little salt, black pepper, and 1/3 cup of the grated cheese.
Assemble the moussaka: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Thoroughly oil a 10” x 10” baking pan (I used a 9x13 pan). Spread half the noodles over the bottom of the pan. Evenly sprinkle 1/3 cup grated cheese over the noodles. Evenly spread the leeks over the grated cheese, the yogurt filling over the leeks, the meat sauce over the yogurt, the remaining grated cheese over the meat sauce, the remaining noodles over the grated cheese, and the egg/cream topping over the noodles.
Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into pieces with a very sharp or serrated knife.
Serve with a crisp green salad, Kalamata olives, and crusty bread.