Today I have a fun, cute, and delicious recipe to share with you! Although I tend to gravitate towards red sauces over creamy ones, Tim loves his high fat fettucine alfredo and spaghetti carbonara. Of course, my mission is to make healthier versions of the all-time classics. How do I know if I’ve succeeded? I leave it up to Tim’s discerning palate. He’s not one to say that something is delicious just for the sake of making me happy. He’s brutally honest when it comes to food. It’s def a double-edged sword.
When I first came across this recipe, I just had to race to the kitchen and get to cookin’. I made some healthier substitutions as you’ll see. I’ve never used fat-free half and half so I wasn’t sure how this would work out, but it worked beautifully here.
I also loved the idea of baking pasta in a muffin tin. The final product sure looks like a bird’s nest, no? This would be great to take to a baby shower, bridal shower, pot luck…It’s portable, pre-portioned, and it makes for an excellent appetizer, snack, or side dish.
Lightned-Up Italian Pasta Nests
Adapted from Cook’s Country
- 8 oz. thin spaghetti (or angel hair pasta)
- 1 cup fat free half -half
- 1 cup parmesan
- 3 oz canadian bacon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated
- 1 tsp sriracha (or hot sauce)
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh basil
- Green olives stuffed with pimentos (optional) *
* I used to hate olives, but recently, I’ve started to appreciate them more and more. Is my palate becoming more sophisticated? Tim still doesn’t like them so I added them to only half of the nests.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 12-cup muffin tin. Bring water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.
- Whisk cream, 3/4 cup parmesan, canadian bacon, broth, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sriracha in bowl. Add pasta and toss.
- Using tongs, portion pasta mixture into prepared muffin cups, twisting pasta to form even nests. Pour any remaining sauce evenly over pasta, sprinkle with remaining parmesan, and press 1 olive into each nest.
- Bake until centers are set and tops are golden brown, 20-25 min, rotating tin halfway through baking. Let nests cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Run small knife around edges, unmold, and serve.
Nutmeg is a great addition to any cream sauce or meat dish. Fresh nutmeg is so much better than the pre-ground one, and it really warms up the dish. I learned this tip from watching Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals. Thank you Food Network!
I added this to show you that it’s a bit of a messy job. Be sure to wipe away the extra sauce on the tin before baking.
The verdict? Tim loved it! He didn’t even realize it was a healthier version. It’s perfectly creamy, savory, and indulgent. I intend to use the recipe to make regular spaghetti carbonara as well. Hope you enjoy!