I was trying to think of something unique and fun for a Easter Recipe to share (I can’t believe it’s just this coming Sunday, April 5!). Well, as it turns out that I made a little bit too much wheat spaghetti when I was making my recipe for Spaghetti Pie that I wrote about last week to celebrate April Fool’s Day. That then brought me down the path of looking at recipes for fun twists on leftover spaghetti, and voila! I present ideas for a Spaghetti Nest Recipe!
First of all, there are several options in putting together your spaghetti nests. The original recipe I saw from Giada’s Recipe for Spaghetti Nests uses 1 egg as a binding agent. However, for me I just used simple Parmesan and olive oil without the egg, and it still stayed together thanks to baking them in a muffin tin.
I can also imagine you could add some bacon and just make your spaghetti nest a carbonara sauced pasta – or you can use pesto instead if you puree your olive oil and Parmesan with basil and pine nuts (or other cheaper nut like walnuts). You could add more cheese so it’s more of a mac and cheese like spaghetti for your nest too – the possibilities are great!
Giada also added wilted spinach to her nests, which I love the idea but I didn’t have any more spinach on hand so left it out. I could also imagine throwing in Italian parsley as well to be the green of the nests. I used chopped sage in mine because that’s what I had on hand, but you could throw in seasonings and greens per your taste.
There are lots of fun ways to fill a spaghetti nest. Giada had little mozzarella balls – I had one big mozzarella ball that I just cut into small pieces for my “Eggs” in the nest after baking the nest. She uses marinara sauce, but you can also use pesto. Or, why make it cheese, you could also use little meatballs, right? Another version is to just crack real eggs and cook them in – the latter of which I also did.
I also pretty much am smitten with these three rabbit Easter decorations I recently found for 20% off at Fred Meyer. Or you can go more subtle with sprouts or salad greens…
- 1/2 box of spaghetti – I used wheat pasta – and this made about 8 muffin-sized nests for me
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon of chopped basil or sage or seasoning of your choice
- 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons of milk or cream
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Optional- eggs, one egg per nest that you want a cooked egg
18 small mozzarella balls (assuming 3 small mozzarella balls per nest)
use 2-3 small meatballs
- Your choice of sauce – marinara or pesto, about 1/2 tablespoon per nest if desired, and/or more for the plate underneath each nest if you’d like
- Cook your pasta according to the directions until al dente- probably after putting the pasta into the boiling water this might be about 7-8 minutes in.
- Drain the water from the pasta and then add in the olive oil, cheese, and seasonings of your chopped basil or sage (I had sage on hand), Italian Seasoning, and the optional splash of milk or cream if you think the pasta is too dry as well as salt and pepper to taste. Toss until all the pasta noodles are coated.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a regular muffin tin and then with a fork, twirl some noodles and then place into each muffin well. Carefully with your fork now push some of the noodles to the sides so that each nest has a crater that you will be able to place items in later (there will still be noodles at the very bottom as part of your nest).
- This is optional- if you are filling your nests with “eggs” of cheese or meatballs, then go ahead and go ahead and bake for the next 20-25 minutes. If you are baking eggs to go with your nest, crack the egg into a separate bowl, and carefully pour one egg each into each of your wells that you made. Sprinkle each egg with a little bit of salt and pepper or Parmesan if you’d like.
- Bake your Spaghetti Nest for 20-25 minutes. If you are baking the nests with real eggs inside, check so that the eggs are just set with no uncooked whites surrounding the yolks, but it should still be liquidy yolk.
- Since the cooking time is close with or without the egg, you can choose to do partial batches with some with baked egg and some without, and then remove the baked egg when it’s ready if it’s done sooner and then put the rest back in to finish off. When you are ready to remove your nests, carefully using a spoon pop each of your nests out of each muffin tin.
- If you are filling your nests with “eggs” afterward, spoon a 1/2 tablespoon of sauce (either marinara or pesto) into each well after they are done baking and then add your cheese or meat ball. If you’d like to serve it the way Giada did, she put her cheese directly into the nest and put the sauce on the serving plate instead – both sound great to me!
- Serve your nests warm or at room temperature with a salad.
I hope you have a great Easter weekend. Are you planning on doing any special food or recipe for the holiday? Have you had spaghetti nests before, and what was it filled with?