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




  • Paneer Filling
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee

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

  • 1 white onion

  • 1 Tbsp garlic paste

  • 1 Jalapeño

  • 2 cups of chopped spinach

  • 1 cup red & green bell pepper

  • 2 tsps chili powder

  • 1 Tbsp tandoori masala

  • 1 tsp cumin-coriander powder

  • 1.5 cup mozzarella cheese, divided

  • 1 lb. penne (boiled Al-Dente)

  • Makhani Sauce
  • 2 Tbsps ghee

  • 1 Rao’s marinara sauce – 28oz

  • 1 cup cream

  • 1.5 water or stock

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 green cardamom

  • 1 large white or yellow onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 Tbsp ginger paste

  • 2 Serrano Peppers, minced

  • 2 tsp Kasuri Methi

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tsp Garam masala

  • 2 tsp chili powder

  • 2 tsp tandoori masala

  • 2 tsp cumin-coriander powder

  • Salt


  • 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 and cook spices for a minute.
  • Now add the pasta sauce, water & salt. Let it simmer for 8 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 and kasuri methi and simmer for another 3 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 spinach and cook for 3 minutes until spinach is wilted.
  • Add chili powder, tandoori and cumin and cook all the spices for a minute.
  • Add paneer and gently fold in until all of the seasonings are well incorporated into the paneer. Cook for about 2 minutes and stir in cilantro.
  • Bake Pasta
  • Heat the oven to 350° f.
  • Put half of the cooked pasta into the oiled baking dish and top with about a third of the sauce. Spread the paneer mixture, half of the mozzarella cheese on the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and then the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbling for about 25 minutes.

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