Spaghetti Nests with Sicilian Pesto, Mozzarella Cherries and Breadcrumbs
These delicious nests of spaghetti are a creative way to serve your pasta. Inspired by traditional Sicilian ingredients, they are prepared with a delicious Sicilian pesto, homemade with sun-dried cherry tomatoes, almonds and a little chilli; seasoned with a generous amount of Sicilian pecorino and toasted breadcrumbs; and finally, oven baked for a few minutes in muffin moulds to take the characteristic nest shape.
Before serving them, I placed mozzarella cherries and more semi-dried tomatoes inside the "nests", and glazed with a drizzle of blackberry balsamic vinegar.
Ingredients (for 2)
200g Spaghetti alla chitarra (or other kind of spaghetti)
190g Sicilian pesto - recipe below
12 mozzarella cherries
12 sun-dried cherry tomatoes
A generous amount of grated Sicilian pecorino
A generous amount of toasted breadcrumbs
A drizzle of olive oil
A few basil leaves to garnish
Womersley Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
Salt to taste
For the Sicilian pesto
70g sun-dried cherry tomatoes
A handful of peeled almonds
A handful of pine nuts
A few leaves of basil
30ml extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven in grill mode to its highest temperature.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and throw in the pasta. Cook to very al dente, about 3 minutes less than indicated on the packaging.
While the pasta is cooking, blitz all the pesto ingredients in a mixer to a chunky consistency and set aside. Drain the pasta and transfer to a bowl with the pesto, mixing to combine well.
Season the pasta with pecorino and breadcrumbs.
Brush the inside of 6 muffin moulds with olive oil or butter and, using a fork and spoon, roll the spaghetti to form 6 equal nests, placing one in each mould. With the handle of the fork, make a little hole in the centre.
Place in the oven on the middle rack and grill for about 5 minutes, or until the nests have become slightly crunchy and browned on top, but not dry.
Place on a plate and decorate each nest with 2 mozzarella cherries, 2 sun-dried tomatoes and a small basil leaf. Lastly, drizzle a few drops of Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar or keep it on the table so each person can drizzle the amount they like.