Onion Masala Manicotti Pasta Recipe


I came up with this new dish after I received masala marinara pasta sauce from our friend Dave of This special sauce was the winner of the Sofi Award for outstanding pasta sauce in . The sauce is very creative and definitely has a South Asian flair with hints of ginger, coconut and kaffir lime leaves. It’s a must try.

Since the sauce itself is a fusion of cultures, I thought it would be fun to continue the theme and make an Italian pasta dish with Indian flavors. I made Indian-style pearl onions cooked in onion masala sauce, called dopiaza. I used that mixture to flavor manicotti stuffed with ricotta cheese and a generous helping of French triple cream cheese. If that sounds a bit decadent to you, well, it is!

1. Info for Onion Masala Manicotti Pasta Recipe

  • Cook Time: unavailable
  • Total Time: unavailable
  • Servings: 6
  • Calories: unavailable

2. Ingredients for Onion Masala Manicotti Pasta Recipe

  • 1 (10-ounce) bag pearl onions, peeled (see tips)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti pasta, cooked
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 3 leeks (green part only), thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (see tips)
  • 1-¼ teaspoons garam masala
  • 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • ½ (25.5-ounce) jar masala marinara sauce (see tips)
  • 8 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3-½ cups milk, warmed for 2 minutes in the microwave
  • 10 ounce ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons triple cream cheese (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

3. Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil. Cook the yellow onion for about 6-8 minutes until soft and nicely golden. Leaving as much oil as possible in the pan, transfer to a platter. Set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan, add 1 more tablespoon oil. Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, cardamom pods, red chili powder and garam masala. Once the ginger garlic paste is fragrant, add the cooked yellow onions and yogurt. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Transfer half the amount of cooked sauce into a blender. Coarsely blend the mixture and pour it back into the saucepan. Add the whole pearl onions. Add 2 cups of water; the water should barely cover the pearl onions. Bring to a boil then lower to a gentle simmer; cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt (1 teaspoon) half-way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the onions and they’ll be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so the onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Check the liquid and periodically add more water. If you’re afraid that the onions will burn before getting tender, add a little more water if the liquid is reduced. The texture of the pearl onions should be soft but they shouldn’t fall apart. Adjust seasoning. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the dopiaza masala sauce for the béchamel sauce.
  6. In a saucepan, melt the ghee over medium-low heat; you don’t want it to burn. Bring the heat back up to medium-high (the ghee should be hot and golden) and add the flour. Keep stirring manually with a whisk for approximately 3 minutes. The flour should absorb the ghee and form a paste. Add the milk in 3 stages and stir well until fully incorporated. Increase the heat while constantly stirring for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the reserved dopiaza sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  8. In a medium-sized pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leeks and cook for about 6-8 minutes until slightly golden. Season with salt and pepper. Add the dopiaza. Turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool.
  9. Add the ricotta cheese and triple cream cheese to the onion mixture. Mix well. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
  10. In a large casserole dish lined with parchment paper and sprayed with oil (for easy clean up), spread a layer of masala marinara sauce first.
  11. Stuff the manicotti with the onion mixture and place the stuffed pasta shells into the pan. Ladle the béchamel sauce over the manicotti shells. It should cover the whole tray. Sprinkle on the rest of the Parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 375°F, lower the temperature to 350°F and cook for another 25 minutes. Broil for about 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden top (if necessary). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  13. Bon appétit!

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