MANTI – deconstructed

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’

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!
Manti Deconstructed (image from


Serves 3 to 4

Filling Ingredients:
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
½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

Filling Directions:
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.

Assembling Directions:
Evenly distribute the lamb mixture over the hot, cooked pasta. Top with yogurt
Serve immediately.

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.
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  1. Ara December 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Here is a suggestion: Buy some medium-sized conch-shell pasta (conchiglie) and cook them according to the package directions. Then fill them with the filling. You can then layer the "manti" in a pan and bake in the oven until crisp. Proceed as you would with regular "manti".

    1. Robyn December 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Always a good alternate preparation. Thanks, Ara!


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