I’ve written before about my obsession with manti, those tiny Turkish lamb dumplings. I’ve been insane enough in the past to make them and, if I’m being honest, it is highly likely that I will be that insane again.
Not this time, though. This time I got the general flavor delight by making the filling into a sauce and putting it on noodles. I got the idea from Melissa Clark, who did the same thing a few years ago. Her version had eggplant in it, which sounds good but not really so much like manti. My version sticks a bit closer to the original taste profile, with the exception of the fact that I ended up dolloping some harissa on it and being thrilled with the results. Authenticity be damned.
Is it as good as the dumplings? Absolutely not. Is it a delicious dish that was made and ready to eat in about 30 minutes instead of 3 hours? Yes it was.
Manti lamb pasta
The optional hot sauce is absolutely optional, but know that it is also absolutely delicious. Some kind of thick or even paste-like chile concoction works better than sauce-y condiments, but that may just be me.
1 pound ground lamb
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
12 leaves mint, cut into ribbons
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 pound farfalle pasta
1 cup thick Greek-style yogurt
3 tablespoons butter
(Harissa, or other hot sauce type item for them that like it – while true manti are not traditionally spicy, this pasta is awfully tasty with an extra kick)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, pat the lamb dry. Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Brown the lamb in the olive oil. When about half the lamb is cooked, add the onion and 2 cloves of the garlic. Cook, stirring, until lamb is cooked through and onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add 3/4 of the mint, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Add broth and simmer until almost completely evaporated but a bit saucy on the bottom of the pan, 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta. While the pasta cooks, combine yogurt with the remaining 1 clove of the garlic and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until butter starts to brown. Remove from heat.
Divide pasta between 4 plates, top with lamb, top that with yogurt, drizzle each serving with some browned butter and garnish with chile powder and some of the remaining mint. Serve with hot sauce on the side for people to add themselves.