Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests

by Marla on September 14, 2010 · 64 comments

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Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on FamilyFreshCooking.comHealthy pasta and cheese recipe

Spaghetti and cheese. Yup. Not much more & not anything less. I cannot think of anyone that does not like a comforting bowl of hearty carbs with gooey melted cheese. With these nests I wanted to get a bit playful with presentation. Not only are they in the shape of well, nests-but I added color to the whole wheat pasta with the spice tumeric. I also added a slightly smoky flavor with my handy dandy smoked paprika. Yes, I did say whole wheat pasta & yes as always I share with you a recipe that has a healthier profile than the usual ones. Why, why not?? Dig in!

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on FamilyFreshCooking.com

These spaghetti nests are great in the kids lunch box. They travel well & can easily be re-heated in the microwave. With a side salad or steamed veggies you have a full meal.

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on FamilyFreshCooking.com
This pasta is also great for #MeatlessMonday. It is always nice to have some vegetarian options in our recipe line up. If you want to make this a heartier meal you can lay a crispy cooked egg on top. Look at what my friend Louise came up with on her blog 2 be satisfied {Caberneti Spaghetti Nests with Crispy Egg and Golden Garlic.} Gorgeous Louise!

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on FamilyFreshCooking.com

These spaghetti nests get a bit crispy on top & warm & creamy in the centers after they are baked. You can also add chunks of chicken breast & small bits of diced steamed broccoli to make a more complete meal. Perhaps you use larger ramekins for baking if you want to go a bit bigger in portion size.

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on FamilyFreshCooking.com

 

Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8-12 servings

Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces dry Whole Wheat Spaghetti (or gluten free option)
  • 1/2 cup grated regular or low fat Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup fat free or low fat Cottage Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • pinch Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • shaved Parmesan for garnish

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 425 F with the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly spray Muffin tins. Cook pasta according to directions, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Be sure not to break spaghetti while cooking so you can twirl it into nests. Combine cottage cheese and cheddar cheese in a bowl. Toss cooked pasta with a splash of olive oil, all spices and seasonings. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if you need to. Mix with cheese mixture. Reserve a bit of cheese to top each nest.
  • Twirl spaghetti with a fork and add to muffin tins, create nest shapes. Top each nest with a bit of the cottage cheese mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes. The tops of your nests will be lightly browned and a bit crispy. Let cool for a few minutes. Gently loosen spaghetti nests from muffin tins with a spatula and serve. Top with parmesan & dried basil or parsley if desired.
http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2010/09/14/three-cheese-spaghetti-nests/

Variations

  • You can try different spices in your spaghetti nests: chili powder, cayenne, thyme, saffron, nutmeg, cumin, etc…would all be fun & unique flavor twists.
  • You can play around linguine, angel hair and other pasta shapes.
  • Try flavored pasta: Spinach, cabernet, etc.
  • Go gluten free: You can use your favorite rice pasta or gluten free product in this recipe too.
  • Stay on the Meatless Monday kick & up the protein with chunks of tofu or top with an egg.
  • More protein non-veg style? Go with some cubed cooked chicken breast. Toss it in before baking.

Spaghetti & Cheese Recipe Links

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. September 14, 2010 at 6:15 am

Marla, I’m loving this! Very creative, easy and delicious all in one!!

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2 Jessica @ How Sweet September 14, 2010 at 6:22 am

I love them in the individual cups! Perfect for portion control too – thought I’d probably want to eat 6 of them.

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3 Deliciously Organic September 14, 2010 at 6:35 am

The nests are adorabe! Your photography gets better and better! :) I’ll have to make this one for the kids.

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4 Maria September 14, 2010 at 6:36 am

These are so cute! I can’t wait to make them with my niece. She loves noodles:)

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5 Rosa September 14, 2010 at 6:47 am

Those look lovely! A very good idea.

Cheers,

Rosa

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6 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather September 14, 2010 at 8:38 am

I bet these would be great for parties too, they are adorable and tasty looking!

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7 Barbara Bakes September 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

Individual servings always seem so much more fun. Love the idea.

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8 FoodFitnessFreshair September 14, 2010 at 9:30 am

These are adorable, and I could see myself eating them for breakfast alongside some eggs. Smoked paprika’s always a nice touch!

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9 the urban baker September 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

any form of pasta and cheese if fine by me. but these little bite sized portions are so on my radar! i need to make these for the kids! x

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10 The Duo Dishes September 14, 2010 at 10:03 am

Great way to get kids to get gourmet. :) The color is great! Turmeric has a way of making things look pretty.

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11 Angie's Recipes September 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

Yummy! I would need at least 3 nests and a glass of red for the dinner. :-))

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12 Cookin' Canuck September 14, 2010 at 11:40 am

Adorable idea, Marla! What a wonderful idea to add some turmeric to make the nests even more visually appealing. My kids would love to find these in their lunch boxes.

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13 Louise September 14, 2010 at 11:52 am

Delicious- I did a test recipe the same way with the muffin tins, great idea.
~Chef Louise

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14 Lentil Breakdown September 14, 2010 at 11:55 am

After the kids have cleaned their plates, you’ll be empty nesters.

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15 Chicago Cuisine Critique September 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Great idea! Who doesn’t love pasta and cheese? Yum! :)

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16 Anna Johnston September 14, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Love the individual servings, they seem so fun and happy sitting there like little nests. Very cool

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17 Mags September 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Oh come on…. those are way too cute to eat!

Great recipe… great photos…. love your blog.

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18 Faith September 15, 2010 at 4:16 am

I love how you cooked these in muffin tins, Marla — what a great idea! The turmeric for a little color is great too. Pretty much the cutest pasta I’ve ever seen! ;)

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19 Heavenly Housewife September 15, 2010 at 4:24 am

What a fun presentation. I love it when someone puts a new spin on an old classic!
*kisses* HH

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20 Mary September 15, 2010 at 6:34 am

This is such a terrific idea and the finished nests looks delightful and delicious. It is a really fun way to serve pasta. I always love to visit here. I like the food and recipes you feature here and your photography is always first rate. I keep coming back for repeats. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

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21 Heather September 15, 2010 at 7:20 am

Love these! I love them even more that they use the whole wheat pasta. Yum! And perfect for the munchkins in the house. Can’t wait to try!

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22 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking September 15, 2010 at 8:10 am

You never fail to amaze me with your creativity, Marla! These look wonderfully yummy, and they’re such a cute dinner idea. I bet this would also be an impressive little presentation for party guests. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos and the recipe, and keep up your awesome cookin’!

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23 My Man's Belly September 15, 2010 at 9:40 am

With ingredients like this I’d have to put them into one of those giant cupcake pans for a individual serving that would be enough for Craig (which probably defeats the purpose of individual portions huh?). These look fantastic!

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24 LilSis September 15, 2010 at 10:09 am

I love these! And, the idea of adding broccoli and/or chicken sounds great! My 17 year old son can eat almost a pound of pasta alone, so he’d need about a dozen of these! Thanks for the recipe!

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25 Cherine September 15, 2010 at 10:35 am

Those nests are adorable!! Love the idea!!

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26 Blond Duck September 15, 2010 at 11:38 am

You can’t go wrong with pasta and cheese!

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27 lisaiscooking September 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I do love pasta and cheese, and the paprika sounds great here!

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28 Barbara @Modern Comfort Food September 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm

As always with your blog, I love the way you really think through the process of making delicious dishes that are healthier, innovative, and (dare I say it?) fun. Looks wonderful, with a great balance between the lighter cottage cheese and richer cheddar.

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29 Marla September 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Barbara: Yes you said it….FUN!! I do love to have fun with my recipe development as you can tell. Also, gotta use fat it is the only thing that helps to satisfy. Going completely fat free tastes yucky, generally has lots of fillers and added sugars. I like clean fat free/low fat choices mixed with the richer stuff, as you have noticed.

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30 Betty @ scrambled hen fruit September 15, 2010 at 8:02 pm

These look like so much delicious fun!

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31 grace September 15, 2010 at 11:53 pm

cheese AND an adorable presentation–this is a winning idea!

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32 Sanjeeta kk September 16, 2010 at 1:55 am

Lovely to have come across your site, hope to come here more often, best wishes.

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33 Joanne September 16, 2010 at 4:35 am

Sometimes you just need to splurge a little on some comfort food and this is perfect for when that craving hits! Especially because they are pre portioned…the splurging can only go so far!

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34 SMITH BITES September 16, 2010 at 6:08 am

These really are fantastic Marla – have never in a million years thought to add smoked paprika to pasta but since that is one of my all time favorite spices, will be doing so in the future! Love that these can go for lunch – and since I pack The Professor’s lunch and since he loves pasta and cheese . . . well, these will be heading to campus with him!

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35 Angie September 16, 2010 at 10:01 am

I love, love love these, too cute! At first I thought it was a version of spaghetti pie in muffin cups, which would also be great, but this is much better, thanks for sharing!

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36 Cara September 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm

What a great way to serve spaghetti! I’ve done mini mac n cheese in muffin tins and they are such a hit at parties.

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37 theUngourmet September 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I can’t wait to make these! How fun! I know my kids will enjoy them too. I’ve been hunting around for some interesting and different lunchbox ideas. :)

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38 Cooking with Coley September 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I love your playful spin on spaghetti. You never cease to amaze me with your presentation and yummy yet healthy combinations!

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39 diane and todd September 16, 2010 at 8:50 pm

this is brilliant marla and love your use of spices. The smoked paprika is awesome, can smell it already over here!

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40 A Canadian Foodie September 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

What a fun idea! I am just doing homemade pasta sauce with my grade 9’s and then we are doing homemade pizza, after that, spaghetti… so guess what will be next? YES! This will be a blast for them and I have never thought of this.
Thanks, Marla!
Valerie

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41 Jen @ How To: Simplify September 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm

How cute and creative are these?! Oh my goodness…I’m definitely adding this recipe to my “to make” list!

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42 Miri Leigh September 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Oh yum! I love a creative twist on good ol’ fashioned pasta. So cheesy and hearty… can’t wait to try.

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43 Carolyn Jung September 17, 2010 at 9:33 pm

A nifty idea! And I love the taste and color that tumeric provides. Looking forward to making my own nest o’ noodles to dig a fork into.

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44 Amanda September 18, 2010 at 8:55 am

These are so FUN!

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45 Kitchen Runway September 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Marla – those look so delicious!! =) Yum!! You can’t ever go wrong with pasta & cheese!

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46 Debs September 21, 2010 at 12:16 am

Wow, beautiful presentation; what a fab idea, thanks for sharing.

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47 Pam @ Cooking World September 21, 2010 at 12:57 am

You have added the twist by adding turmeric and paprika for color and spice! What I love is using muffin tin to make nest! It would be perfect one serving to serve and looks so gourmet!

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48 busy beecher September 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I love this idea! My son is only 6 months, but as soon as he can eat pasta I’m making these!

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49 Sonia - L'Exquisit October 8, 2010 at 4:33 am

I just ate and are delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

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50 Marla October 8, 2010 at 4:53 am

Sonia: I just woke up to your sweet comment. I am so happy you enjoyed this recipe. It thrills me when my readers can add something new, healthy & tasty to their meal selections. I need to play with a red sauce version of this too.

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51 chaya October 16, 2010 at 11:35 pm

This is a fantastic idea, one which I have to make. I printed the recipe which is a first step. My grandkids would love these and so would I.

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52 Damaris @KitchenCorners September 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Marla this is seriously one of the most creative dishes I have ever seen. I LOVE IT. I already has spaghetti twice today but after seeing this post i’m seriously tempted to make some more.

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53 recipes January 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm

delicious recipe. i’ll make it again.

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54 Amanda Renea April 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

These look tasty!

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55 PAMELA WERFALLI August 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Hi, love most of the recipes you put on. This one (spaghetti nests) sounds great! You say one can add chicken and broccoli to them for more of a meal? How many does one get then? Only 1? I thought we got all 3 in the picture! LOL!

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56 Marla August 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Pamela, simply add some chopped chicken or broccoli to the mix before baking the spaghetti nests.

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57 Kelly December 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Hi Marla,

These look awesome. I have a few questions.
1. You mention putting them in the kids lunch. Do these reheat well? Or do you eat them cool?
2. Can you make these ahead of time? I was considering them for a party. It would be really convenient if I could put them together ahead of time and just pop them in the oven to cook when everyone arrived.

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58 Marla December 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Hi! They would reheat fine. As far as the temperature in a lunchbox – all depends on whether your kids like cold or hot pasta. Mine will eat it either way :)
You can assemble before a party & keep cool in the fridge until ready to bake.

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