Spaghetti and meatball nests

Want to jazz up your standard spaghetti bolognese? Look no further. This recipe actually uses the pasta to create crispy 'nests' to hold your tomatoey, hearty meatballs. This dinner is both fun, and delicious.

  • 20 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking
  • Makes 8
  • Print


Spaghetti and meatball nests
  • 300 gram spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 clove garlic, crushed
  • 400 gram tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 500 gram turkey or chicken mince
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped basil, plus extra leaves to serve
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan, plus 1/2 cup extra


Spaghetti and meatball nests
  • 1
    Preheat oven to hot, 200°C. Lightly grease eight, 1 cup Texas muffin pan recesses.
  • 2
    In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook spaghetti following packet instructions, until al dente. Drain well and return to pan.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat half oil on medium. Saute onion and garlic 4-5 minutes, until onion is tender. Spoon half into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  • 4
    Stir puree, half tomato paste and vinegar into onion in pan. Bring to boil. Simmer 2 minutes. Season.
  • 5
    Add mince, breadcrumbs, basil, 1 egg and remaining tomato paste to cooled onion mixture. Season and mix well. Shape level tbsp of mixture into balls.
  • 6
    In a jug, whisk remaining eggs with parmesan and add to pasta. Season and mix well. Divide pasta mixture among muffin holes, shaping into nests with indent in centre.
  • 7
    Spoon 1 tbsp tomato sauce into each nest. Push 3 meatballs into each and spoon over remaining sauce. Sprinkle with extra parmesan.
  • 8
    Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown around edges. Cool in pan 2 minutes, then loosen edges with a small sharp knife to remove. Top with extra basil and serve with salad.


This is a great way to use up leftover cooked spaghetti. For a cheats version use a 500 gram packet of ready-made meatballs and 1 ½ cups of store bough tomato based pasta sauce.

read more from