Weather is getting colder meaning the comforting dishes have to come back!
Comforting is exactly what this dish is about: penne pasta cooked in a flavorful and creamy tomato curry and topped with a rich cheesy sauce. Let’s do it!
It starts with the penne that is cooked until perfectly tender. While it is cooking, you prepare the curry sauce that consists of garlic and ginger that are sautéed with spices like garam masala, turmeric, chili, and cumin. Then you add crushed tomatoes and coconut milk for creaminess.
Drain your pasta and add it to the skillet. Stir to coat with the curry sauce and bake for about 10 minutes.
Next, you want to top the pasta skillet with a rich and cheesy sauce. For the sauce, I went with soaked cashews that are blended with nutritional yeast for cheesiness, miso for umami, and onion and garlic powder. I also added some maple syrup and a tablespoon of white wine to give it a deeper flavor.
Another 10-15 minutes in the oven, a few minutes under the grill, and you end up with a beautiful golden brown pasta bake. The pasta on top is almost crispy while the inside remains saucy, SO good!
If you are looking for a cozy and filling pasta bake, you are going to love this one! It is cheesy, saucy, and flavorful thanks to the addition of Indian spices. Plus, it’s made in one skillet!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Cheesy Tikka Masala Pasta Bake
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp each: turmeric chili
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 and 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
- for topping: fresh cilantro
- Drain the cashews and transfer to a high-speed blender. Add all the other ingredients: water, nutritional yeast, miso, white wine, maple syrup, cornstarch, onion and garlic powder, and turmeric.
- Blend on high speed for about 10 seconds, or until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed (depending on how salty your miso is). Transfer the cheese sauce to a small bowl and set aside.
- Cook the penne according to the package instructions.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large iron skillet. Once hot, add the garlic and grated ginger, and sautée for about 3 minutes.
- Add the garam masala, turmeric, chili, cumin, and salt, and cook for one more minute. Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juice, maple syrup, coconut milk, and water.
- Let simmer for 5-7 minutes. Next, drain the penne pasta and add it to the skillet. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and pour the cheesy sauce over the pasta. Use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly.
- Bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheesy sauce is golden brown. You can put it under the grill the last few minutes for a better caramelization.
- Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before serving. This pasta bake is best served the same day but will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, cover with foil and warm in a 400°F preheated oven for about 30 minutes.