Cheat Manti, Kiymali Makarna - Pasta with Turkish ragout sauce, garlicky yoghurt and Pul biber olive oil
I absolutely love manti, Turkish dumplings with fillings. When I am short of time though, I make this “Cheat Manti”, using shell shaped conchiglie pasta, over a delicious Turkish style ragout sauce, Kiymali Makarna, topped with garlicky yoghurt and pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil – a lovely meal my mother used to make for us for busy weekday dinners. And it certainly delivers that satisfying manti taste – the garlicky yoghurt and pul biber oil take the dish to the next level and brings comforting manti vibes, in almost no time. You can make your meaty ragout sauce ahead of time. I try to sneak in as much vegetables as possible in the sauce; diced carrots, peppers, mushrooms all work well. The meat sauce is roughly based on my topping recipe for the Stuffed aubergines/eggplants, Karniyarik, from my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, which is cooked further and reduced. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
  • 500g/1lb 2oz shell (conchiglie) pasta or your choice of pasta
  • 450g/1lb minced/ground beef (or lamb)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 200g/7oz (can of) chopped tomato
  • 15ml/1tbsp tomato paste
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
  • 240ml/8fl oz water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the garlicky yoghurt:
  • 400g/14oz plain yoghurt (I like to use whole milk yoghurt)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • Salt to your taste
  • For the pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil:
  • 10ml/2tsp (or more!) Turkish pul biber, red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
  1. Please take the yoghurt out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour before you ensemble the dish. For the garlicky yoghurt, combine the yoghurt with chopped garlic in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt to your taste, combine well and set aside.
  2. Pour 2tbsp olive oil on a wide heavy pan and stir in the onions and carrots. Stir and sauté for 2-3 minutes, over medium to high heat.
  3. Stir in the ground (minced) meat, garlic and chopped peppers, combine well. Sauté for 4-5 minutes over medium to high heat, stirring continuously.
  4. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and 240ml water, combine well. Season with salt and ground black pepper and cook over medium heat for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will reduce at the end of this period; check the seasoning and add more salt or ground black pepper if needed. Stir in the chopped parsley and combine well, turn the heat off.
  5. Towards the last 10 minutes of the meat sauce to get ready, pour in the hot water to a medium sized pan and stir in your pasta (I like to use shell shaped conchiglie pasta, which reminds me the manti shape). Cook your pasta, al dente, as per the cooking instructions in the package (conchiglie pasta cooks al dente in 10 minutes). Drain the water and drizzle a little olive oil over and combine, so the pasta doesn’t stick.
  6. In a small sauté pan, drizzle 2tbsp olive oil and stir in the pul biber or red pepper flakes. Stir and gently infuse the pul biber to the olive oil, over medium to low heat, for 1 -2 minutes, turn the heat off.
  7. You are now ready to ensemble your cheat manti feast; using a serving spoon, place the pasta on a plate. Spread the 3 – 4 tablespoonfuls of the meaty sauce over the pasta and scatter a few small dollops of garlicky yoghurt over the sauce. Drizzle pul biber infused olive oil over the garlicky yoghurt. Serve immediately.
  8. Afiyet Olsun.
Recipe by Ozlem's Turkish Table at