So I never did get around to telling you about the next step of brown butter goodness. Please excuse the oversight: I got distracted by asparagus flaunting their white flesh.
But actually, my timing isn’t half bad. Because no matter how delicious it is (and it is, very), it is still hearty fare. With all the sunshine we’ve been having, it might have seemed like too much. Now the wind is howling outside my window and the time is right, so I give you manti lamb pasta. (Forever thanking The Dinner Files for the suggestion and Melissa Clark for the recipe.)
Actually, “manti” is a bit of a misnomer, because manti are Turkish dumplings, and these are noodles with sauce. What is the same, I gather, is the combination of browned minced meat, Turkish pepper and… brown butter. Mmmmm! In this recipe, you brown ground lamb with garlic, shallots, fresh mint and pepper, then add in toasted eggplant cubes. This you layer over noodles and top with garlic laced yoghurt, followed by a good sprinkling of browned butter. Simple, really, but the meat, yoghurt and butter combine into something v. rich and v. more-ish. I made this for two dinner parties in a row and both times we had to skip dessert because everyone was just too full with pasta. As you would be, after three servings.
“Manti” lamb pasta
Serves 2, with left-overs
- 1 large eggplant, in small cubes
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 400 gr ground lamb
- red pepper flakes to taste (start with ¼ tsp if they’re pretty mild, less if you’ve got the hot stuff)
- large handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
- 250 gr pasta (a small shape like bowtie or orechiette works best)
- 30 gr butter, or more to taste
- 125 gr Greek yoghurt
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Heat up a pan of water to boil pasta.
Toss eggplant with a large glug of olive oil and good pinch of salt. Spread on a baking sheet and toast until brown, about 15- 20 minutes (be careful: toasty brown becomes black quickly).
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet, add the shallot and fry until translucent, then add two cloves of pressed garlic and cook until it smells wonderful. Add the lamb, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a few turns of black pepper. Saute until most of the lamb has browned, then stir in mint (reserve about ½ tablespoon) and cook for a few more minutes. Take the eggplant out of the over when it is done, and stir into the lamb. Taste, and add extra salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if needed.
Cook pasta. Mix the yoghurt with a pinch of salt and one clove of minced garlic. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and heat until it is brown and has a gorgeous nutty smell (about 6 minutes). Drain pasta, put on plates and spread lamb mixture on top, followed by the garlicky yoghurt. Sprinkle with brown butter, the left-over mint and some red pepper flakes. Serve.