Paneer Bhurji Stuffed Shells

Yield 6-8 People






  1. While you prep and chop the ingredients, heat a large pot of water to boil and cook the shells until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet heat 2-3 tbsp oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds and then add the serrano peppers. Continue to stir until the green chilis have slightly softened.
  3. Add the onions and cook for a few more minutes until they are soft. Add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, chili powder and coriander-cumin powder. Continuously stir, lowering the heat if necessary to keep the spices from burning. 
  4. Cook continuously until the garlic is fragrant (but not browning) and then add the crumbled paneer. Stir gently (in a folding over motion) until all of the seasonings are well incorporated into the paneer. Cook for about 5-7 minutes and then stir in the garam masala and cilantro.
  5. Remove the paneer from the pan into a large bowl and re use the same pan for the veggies.
  6. Heat some oil in the sam pan and add in the sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt, stirring constantly until they release their liquid. Add in the red and green peppers, corn, spinach and 1 tsp minced garlic while continuously cooking. You want these veggies to keep their crisp bite and not over cook. After the spinach is wilted through remove from heat.
  7. Add the veggies to the paneer mixture a long with 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and gently fold the ingredients together.

The Sauce:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and melt the butter. As the butter melts, add 2 tbsp minced garlic, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic or butter from browning, lower the heat if necessary. Once the butter and garlic looks foamy and garlic is fragrant, add in the flour.
  2. Continue to cook the flour, while stirring constantly until the flour is nutty in aroma and starting to turn golden. At this point gently pour in the 3 cups of broth with one hand while whisking the mixture in the other hand. (Turn the stove to medium high heat at this point so you have a slow simmer going).
  3. Once all of the broth is added in, slowly add in the cream by 1/2 cup, waiting for the sauce to come to a slow simmer after each pour. Once all the cream is added in, turn the pot to low heat.
  4. Add in worcestershire sauce, bay leaf and clove and stir. Add the parmesan cheese to the sauce one handful at a time and stirring into the sauce until its creamy (the sauce should not be simmering or boiling at this point but just be hot enough to melt the parmesan- turn off the stove completely if necessary). The sauce will thicken upon standing. Taste the sauce for salt after adding the cheese. 
  5. Taste the sauce and add more cheese for extra richness and saltiness!

Assemble the Shells:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cover the bottom of a baking dish or casserole with enough sauce to generously cover the bottom.
  3. Spoon the paneer mixture into the shells and arrange in the baking dish.
  4. Once all the shells are snugly arranged, pour the sauce all over the shells until they look saucy enough (you may not use all the sauce and you can pour more sauce on the side after they shells have done baking).
  5. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the shells in the oven on the middle rack for about 15-20 minutes until you start to see the sauce simmer. You can check to see if the filling is hot and make sure the shells are completely cooked through and fork tender (but do not overcook).
  6. Uncover the shells, top with mozzarella cheese and place back in the oven at low broil to brown the cheese. 
  7. Remove from oven, top with chopped cilantro and serve hot !!

Recipe by The Chutney Life at