1 cup shredded cheese such as monterey jack or mozzarella
salt to taste
1 box jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente
For the Tikka Masala Sauce:
1 cup onion, diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
2 star anise
3 black peppercorns
1 piece cinnamon
1 black cardamom
2 tsp coriander-cumin powder
2 tsp tandoori masala
3 tbsp butter
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp garam masala powder
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (can also use pecorino/fontina)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream or half & Half
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For the veggie filling:
In a large pot or skillet heat 2 tbsp oil over medium high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent. Add remaining vegetables, salt, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Add garlic, and dry seasonings to the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly until the raw smell of garlic has dissipated and all vegetables are fork tender (but not mushy- they will continue to cook once they are in the oven).
Once the vegetables are cooked, add cilantro and shredded cheese and combine well.
In a large pot, over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp oil. Once oil is hot add cumin, bay leaf, star anise, pepper corns, cinnamon, and black cardamom. Cook until bay leaf and whole spices are slightly browned and aromatic.
Add chopped onions, continue to cook until translucent and slightly golden (about 10-15 minutes).
Add tandoori masala, coriander-cumin powder and continue to stir. The mixture will begin to look clumpy, add a few splashes of water as needed to keep the mixture saucy and continue to stir and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
Add tomato sauce, stir and cover with lid. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add chicken broth, heavy cream, garam masala, cilantro, and bring to a slow simmer.
Remove from heat, add in grated parmesan.
Spoon the vegetable mixture into each shell and arrange shells in single layer in shallow baking dish (Pour 1-2 ladles of sauce in bottom of baking dish first to prevent any sticking).
Once all the shells are arranged, pour the remaining sauce over the shells, top off with additional shredded cheese and chopped cilantro and bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese has melted. To brown cheese, broil on high for 4-5 minutes.
Serve hot !
Recipe by The Chutney Life at http://thechutneylife.com/recipes/dinner/veggie-tikka-masala-stuffed-shells/