Manti Style Orecchiette

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  1. In a bowl add the semolina flour and make a well in the centre. Pour in the water and gradually mix in the sides to form a dough.  Once shaggy, tip onto a surface. 
  2. Knead and bring the dough together until nice and smooth. If it’s too dry add a little bit more water, if too wet, a little more flour.  Once smooth, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until lightly caramelized, add the garlic and cook until aromatic. 
  4. Add in the beef and break apart with a spoon into small pieces. Season with all the spices and some salt. Fry the beef until just crispy. Keep warm. 
  5. In another pot, add the butter, tomato paste and smoked paprika. Cook for a couple minutes over medium heat until bright orange in colour. Remove from the heat and stir through some dry thyme and lemon juice. Keep warm.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together yoghurt garlic and salt, keep cold. 
  7. To make the orecchiette, cut the dough into 4 or 6.  Working with one piece at a time, keep the rest covered with a damp cloth
  8. Roll the piece into a long rope about 1cm wide. And then cut into 1cm nuggets 
  9. Starting at the edge furthest away from you, drag a blunt eating knife towards you over a nugget of dough, so it curls round and over the knife. Gently pull the dough off the knife, push your thumb inside and turn it inside out. Should be rough on the inside!
  10. Set aside each orecchiette on a tray of semolina flour so they don’t stick. Note that they will dry very quickly if your kitchen is hot. Repeat with remaining dough
  11. Bring a pot of water to boil and season well with salt. Add your orecchiette. Once they rise to the surface, cook for about 2 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon. 
  12. Transfer the pasta to the butter sauce and toss quickly to coat well
  13. Add the yoghurt to a plate and spread out, top with the orecchiette.  Sprinkle over some of the beef mixture and then drizzle with any extra butter from the pan. Garnish with, dried mint, chopped parsley, pomegranate(optional), and toasted pine nuts. Add a little bit more butter sauce.
  14.  Enjoy!