Spring has sprung! Growing up in Buffalo you would think that I would be used to the snow and cold, but that was not the case; instead I was simply over it before I even hit middle school.
So being the kind of person who mumbles obscenities at the weather under my breath all winter long, you can imagine that seeing signs of spring make me a very happy camper.
We are lucky enough to have an apartment with a terrace that’s surrounded by trees; this means that come spring time, you see little birds hopping around the terrace garden looking for twigs to make nests.
When I saw this for the first time last year, I was so overwhelmed at the cuteness of it that I started leaving out materials for the birds to make nest mansions if they wanted.
All of this nest making got me thinking about edible nests (yes, my mind always goes to food) and I started thinking about making spaghetti into nests, like a version of a spaghetti pie.
Then I started thinking about spaghetti squash and how it would be cool if that was made into a nest. In the end I came up with a combination of half spaghetti and half spaghetti squash, which together, makes the perfect nest.
Between the cheese and seasoning on the inside and the crunchy bits of pasta on the edges, these nests are almost as adorable as the ones outside my window (and of course this version is much more delicious!).
Makes 48 nests
1 small spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
¼ pound thin spaghetti
8oz shredded mozzarella, about 1 cup
6oz parmesan cheese, about ¾ cup
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
- Heat oven to 400°. Cut squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and fibers in the center. Place on a baking sheet and bake cut side up until easily pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes, leave the oven on.
- While the squash is cooking, place a large pot of salted water over high heat for cooking the pasta. Once the water comes to a boil, add the thin spaghetti and cook until al dente according to the package directions. When the pasta is done, drain it and place in large bowl. If your squash is not done yet, stir a little olive oil into the pasta to prevent it from sticking to each other.
- Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the spaghetti like strands of the squash with a fork. Place the strands in clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove some of the excess moisture. You should now have about 2 cups of squash (once you fluff it back up). Place the squash in the bowl with the cooked spaghetti.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients into the bowl with the spaghetti and squash, mix until combined separating the squash strands with your fingers as you mix.
- Grease 2 mini muffin tins (or work in batches). Fill each cup with about 1 tablespoon of the spaghetti mixture and pat down to compress. When all cups are filled, place the muffin tins in the oven and bake until the sides are brown and the top is golden brown—15 to 20 minutes. Remove and serve hot with tomato sauce if desired.
- I like a mixture of parmesan and mozzarella in these but you can easily make them your own by using whatever cheese you like and the spices of your choice. Think cheddar and chili powder or gruyere and onion powder.
- If your spaghetti squash is on the larger size just make sure to use only 2 cups worth (2 cups after squeezing out the extra water) for this recipe and save the rest to toss with tomato sauce and mozzarella for a quick dinner.
- I like thin spaghetti because it is most similar in size to the squash, however angel hair or regular spaghetti work just fine.