I saw Giada make these adorable Spaghetti Nests on Food Network and it is such a great recipe for kids. Egg is a fairly recent addition to Evan’s vocabulary, but he definitely used it a lot while assembling the nests and counting the “eggs”. The flavor of the spaghetti is delicious too. I love the crispness that formed on the exterior of the nests by baking the pasta in the oven.
I didn’t have mini springform pans, so I used creme brulee dishes and large ramekins. Since I didn’t remove the nests from their pans, I just added the marinara sauce to each indentation before topping with the mozzarella.
Ciliegine are small fresh mozzarella balls about the size of a cherry. You can also use Bocconcini, which are slightly larger. These can be food in the specialty cheese section of most large supermarkets.
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
1 tablespoon butter for greasing the pans
8 ounces spaghetti
2 packed cups spinach, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
Olive oil for drizzling
2 cups marinara sauce
12 small fresh mozzarella balls (ciliegine)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Use the butter to grease 4 (4 inch) springform pans or ramekins.
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, just tender. Drain thoroughly and pour into a large bowl. Immediately toss with the spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to mix until the spinach begins to wilt. Allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, beat together 1/3 cup Parmesan, milk, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and eggs. Once the spaghetti is cooled to room temperature, pour in the egg mixture and toss until well combined. Use tongs or a large fork to twirl 1/4 of the pasta and transfer to prepared pan. Repeat with remaining pasta. Make a large indentation in the center of each pasta twirl and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in preheated oven until set and beginning to turn golden on edges, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. If using springform pans, gently remove from the pans and use a thin spatula to remove the bottom.
Warm the marinara and pour about 1/2 cup into each of the serving plates or into the center of each nest. Place 3 mozzarella balls into the center of each and serve immediately.