I LOVE Manti, but as you might recall, my first attempt at making it with wonton wrappers as a shortcut, led to overdone, hard to chew morsels. Soaking them in chicken broth helped soften them, but generally speaking, I was disappointed.
My plan was to try again making the dough from scratch, but that hasn’t happened yet. Alas, my cousin Ron Takakjian came to the rescue.
Just as I have prepared ‘kufteh deconstructed ’, and ‘dolma deconstructed ’ in the past, Ron suggested a ‘manti deconstructed’ recipe.
There are easy-manti recipes floating around out there using shell-shaped pasta stuffed with the traditional manti filling, then baking. The recipe Ron sent is even easier than that.
I used my own manti filling and yogurt sauce recipes, but applied Ron’s layering technique to achieve the manti taste without the manti fuss. Try it!
Serves 3 to 4
1 lb. ground lamb, beef, or turkey
1 large onion, finely chopped
1or 2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, black pepper, Aleppo red pepper, and allspice to taste
½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add ground lamb, salt, pepper, Aleppo red pepper, and allspice to taste. Cook until lamb is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain any fat. Stir in parsley and cook for 2 more minutes. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.
½ lb. small pasta of your choice (Small shells, rotini, or bowties work well)
Cook according to package directions; drain and place in a serving platter or bowl, keeping it warm.
Yogurt-Garlic Sauce (Suggestion: Make this in advance.)
16 oz. plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt to taste
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Mix well.
2. Chill until ready to serve, allowing flavors to blend. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Evenly distribute the lamb mixture over the hot, cooked pasta. Top with yogurt sauce.
Optional step: In a small saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp. butter over medium-low heat, add ½ tsp. crushed dried mint and a dash of Aleppo red pepper. Cook, stirring often, until butter turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Do NOT allow butter to burn. Drizzle melted butter over top.