Paneer Makhani Baked Ziti

This fusion pasta dish is layered with paneer/spinach filling and baked off with decadent makhani sauce topped with mozzarella cheese. When you pull this dish out of the oven it will appeal to adults and children alike, feeding a crowd for your gatherings.

Paneer Makhani Baked Ziti

Course: MainCuisine: Indian, Italian


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 lb. penne (boiled Al-Dente)

  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

  • Paneer Filling
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee

  • 1.5 cup Paneer, 1/4 inch cubed or crumbled

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 Jalapeño, minced

  • 2 cups of chopped spinach

  • 1 cup red & green bell pepper, diced

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala

  • 1 tsp cumin-coriander powder

  • salt to taste

  • Makhani Sauce
  • 2 tbsps ghee

  • 1 Rao’s marinara sauce – 28oz

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1.5 water or stock

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 green cardamom

  • 1 large white or yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic paste

  • 1 tbsp ginger paste

  • 3 thai green chili or 2 serrano, minced

  • 2 tbsp tandoori masala

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1.5 tsp cumin-coriander powder

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 2 tsp kasoori methi, crushed

  • 1.5 tsp brown sugar

  • salt to taste


  • Make Sauce
  • Melt the ghee in a Dutch oven.
  • Add bay leaf, cardamom, onions, serrano and salt and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Also add the ginger and garlic and cook, until fragrant 2 minutes. Add turmeric, chili, tandoori and cumin-coriander powders and cook spices for a minute.
  • Now add the pasta sauce, water & salt. Let it simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the stove and fish out the bay leaf and cardamom.
  • Puree the sauce using immersion blender and blend until smooth. Add cream, cilantro, garam masala, kasoori methi and brown sugar and simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Make Paneer Veggies
  • In a large skillet heat ghee. add onions, garlic and Jalapeño and cook for a few minutes until they are soft. Add bell peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add chili powder, tandoori and cumin-coriander powder and cook all the spices for a minute.
  • Add paneer & spinach and gently fold in until all of the seasonings are well incorporated into the paneer. Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes and stir in cilantro. Keep it aside.
  • Bake Pasta
  • Boil pasta accord to package direction. Keep it al-dente.
  • Heat the oven to 350° f
  • Spread a small layer of the sauce on the bottom of baking dish(9×13). Top with half of the cooked pasta, spread the paneer/veggie mixture, spreading evenly across the entire dish.
  • Now top with more sauce and half of mozzarella cheese on the sauce in an even layer.
  • Cover with the remaining pasta and then the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until bubbling for about 25 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes and garnish with fresh cilantro.
  • Serve with my Chili-Garlic Cheese Naan Bites & Enjoy!!

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