Spaghetti Nests

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A few months back I was watching Giada De Laurentiis make these spaghetti nests with her daughter Jade, which got me thinking, “If a five-year-old can make this, why can’t I?” Not that I’d want my cooking skills to be matched up against De Laurentiis spawn in a few years, but it speaks to the simplicity of this recipe. Giada’s is one common to Southern Italy in which the remaining pasta from the past night’s meal is salvaged and combined with egg, milk, and parmesan cheese. The unconventional display of the spaghetti is the perfect modern (and kid-friendly) touch for a traditional meal.  Recipe below the pictures. Enjoy!!

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Ingredients

4 servings

Butter, for greasing the pans

Pasta

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 box spaghetti (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 packed cups spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To Assemble 

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
  • 12 small fresh mozzarella balls, such as ciliegine or bocconcini
  • Special equiptment: Four-inch-diameter springform pans*

Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of four 4-inch-diameter springform pans.

Pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the spinach, cheese, oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well until the spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool.

To Assemble

Beat the Parmesan, milk, salt, and egg together in a large bowl until smooth. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti mixture until well combined. Twirl 1/2 cupfuls of the spaghetti mixture around tongs or a large fork and transfer to the prepared pans. Make an indentation in the middle of each nest of pasta and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before removing the sides from the pans. Remove the bottoms of the pans from the nests using a thin metal spatula.

Place the spaghetti nests on each of 4 serving plates. Spoon 1/2 cup of the sauce into each of the nests. Place 3 balls of the mozzarella in each nest and serve.

*I found my pans at Whisk in Brooklyn, but you can find the same here for around $7 each.

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