I ran across Turkish Ravioli (Manti) during a trip to Istanbul. They are tiny dumplings typically filled a mixture of spiced beef or lamb. Despite their small size, the dumplings, typical of Turkish cuisine, have a lot of flavor.
They are often served with a yogurt sauce, but for this recipe I opted to go with an eggplant and tomato sauce with a Turkish Ottoman seasoning mix. The resulting spicy pasta dish was bursting with flavor. This is a great alternative to your everyday pasta with tomato sauce. If you can’t find Manti in a specialty story, you can substitute tortellini or another ravioli, although the flavor will be sightly different.
Looking for additional recipes using eggplant? Here are a few more you might enjoy!
1 Pound Manti Dumplings (or tortellini or mini ravioli)
1 Medium Sized Eggplant
2 Medium Sized Tomatoes
1 Small Onion
1 Medium Sized Red Bell Pepper
3 Teaspoons Ottoman Spice Mix (1/2 teaspoon (each) Cumin, Sumac, Oregano, Dried Mint, Dried Hot Red Pepper Flakes, Salt, and 1/4 teaspoon Allspice)
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Paste (you can use tomato paste as a substitute)
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
4 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Red Wine
Feta Cheese Crumbles and Parsley (Minced) to be used as a Garnish
Remove 1/2 of the skin the eggplant by cutting equal sized ribbons along the length. Cut the Eggplant into 4 equal sized rounds.
Remove the outer skin of the onion and cut it into quarters.
Place 3 whole cloves of garlic, the onion, red pepper and eggplant on a cookie sheet. Coat the vegetables with olive oil and season lightly with salt.
Roast in a 350 degree oven until the skin of the red pepper begins to blacken slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Remove the skin from the tomato and chop the vegetables into smaller chunks. You can use a blender if you prefer a less chunky sauce.
Place the ingredients into a sauce pan and add the red pepper paste, tomato paste, red wine, 1/2 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of the Ottoman Spice Mix. You can add more later if you like a spicier sauce.
Bring the pan to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue cooking for approximately 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
In the meantime, bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Cook the Manti per directions, until the dumplings are cooked to al dente. Drain and put aside.
Add 1 clove of minced garlic to a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil for 3 minutes (do not allow to burn). Add the manti and 1 teaspoon of Ottoman spice mix, stirring occasionally. Cook for 5 minutes, allowing the spices to flavor the dumplings and become slightly toasted, releasing some of their aroma.
Place the manti in individual serving dishes and top with the eggplant sauce. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and parsley.
You can make the eggplant sauce a day in advance – which will result in a more flavorful sauce as the ingredients will have had a chance to mingle and marry.
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Here are some links to additional Turkey inspired recipes and articles about Istanbul that you might enjoy:
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