The first time I made this paneer and mixed herb macaroni, it was a total accident. (This is the theme with most of my original recipes.) We were having a some guests over for a holiday lunch, and I planned on cooking “Western food”. The thing is some of my family is pretty traditional dal roti types, so I wanted to have something on the menu that felt familiar to them. The result was a pasta that has the familiar flavours of methi (fenugreek) and dhaniya (cilantro), and a refreshing peppery hit from lots of parsley.
My favourite way to eat this pasta is drenched in lemon juice, and a generous helping of freshly cracked black pepper at the end. When I’m making a batch for my mom and I, there is usually some green chilis in the mix too. For the kids though, I keep it easy on the heat.
While I’m sharing some proportions in the recipe card below, the real trick to this paneer and mixed herb macaroni is to adjust the herbs to your liking. My family loves the taste of methi so I go heavy handed with it, but if you’re not into the flavour, swap out some methi for parsley. The key is not to skimp on the herbs, you want to get a mouthful in each bite. Also feel free to add in other herbs of your choice. If I have thyme or rosemary in the fridge, I’ll drop in a few sprigs. Or, if I’m short on cilantro or parsley, I will replace it with spring onions – this is a very forgiving pasta!
While this post isn’t sponsored, I do have to say that my go-to for any paneer dish is always Nanak’s Paneer. They are a local company (and success story), but more importantly, they make the best paneer! I’ve tried a few other brands, but always come back to Nanak’s.
Paneer and Mixed Herb Macaroni – Tips & Tricks:
- The only tricky part of this recipe is the roux. Once you get comfortable with making this sauce base, you can master so many recipes – including my makhani mac & cheese. If you are unsure about how to make a roux, check out this guide. For this recipe we are looking for a light to medium roux. Not dark!
- Make sure your herbs are washed well. If you are using the stalks chop them very finely. Or for the best texture, skip the stalks and save them for something else. Speaking of texture, you really want to chop the herbs for this recipe, don’t puree them.
Fresh, flavourful, and packed with mixed herbs, this paneer and mixed herb pasta is a star as a main, or perfect as a side for a big family dinner.
4 cups dry elbow pasta
salt (for pasta water)
olive oil (to drizzle over pasta)
2 tbs butter
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tbs coriander powder
1/4 tbs nutmeg
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup cubed paneer
1/2 cup grated paneer
1/2 bunch finely chopped fenugreek/methi (approx 1/2 cup)
1/2 bunch finely chopped cilantro/dhaniya (approx 1/2 cup)
1/2 bunch parsley chopped parsley (approx 1/2 cup)
1 green chili chopped (optional)
1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1.5 cups of milk
1/2 – 1 cup reserved pasta water
2 tbs reserved mixed herbs
- Boil pasta according to package directions in heavily salted water. Drain pasta and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. (Don’t forget to reserve pasta water).
- Create a roux using the butter and flour. Melt the butter over a medium-high heat in a heavy-bottom pan. Add the flour, and stir vigorously. The mixture will go from liquid, to grainy, and finally a mixture. This should only take about 2 minutes, and you need to keep stirring. Once the mixture comes together, cook for 60 seconds and reduce the heat to low. You want to roux to be a white/light brown shade, not dark.
- Add the milk to the mixture and whisk well, ensuring their are now lumps. Now add the grated paneer, green chili (if using), coriander, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, combine well.
- Add in 1/2 a cup of the reserved pasta water and stir. If you would like the sauce to be thinner, you can add more pasta water. Once you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, add the mixed herbs and cubed paneer.
- Add cooked macaroni to the sauce, and toss together.
- Top with reserved herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice, and serve.