Now here's a recipe you can play with and change to suit your tastes.
This is a fun dish of pasta that should appeal to anyone sick of eating spaghetti the same old way. Spaghetti, eggs, and cheese are combined, formed into cupcake tins, filled with goodies and baked.
You could use these for parties or just to make a dull dinner somewhat more interesting. My measurements for this dish are somewhat loose, and you can play with the proportions to find a mix you like best.
The next time I try these, I'm going to add fresh herbs to the spaghetti and egg mixture to add a little green color and flavor to the shell itself. Fresh flat leaf parsley, oregano, tarragon, and basil all would be appropriate.
This example uses garlic, spinach, and mushrooms because I really like that combination. When you choose a filling, make sure you precook the vegetables or meat. The time in the oven is just enough to get the eggs to set up and bind the spaghetti together.
Spinach and Mushroom Spaghetti Cups
6 oz. spaghetti, angel hair, fettucine, or other linear pasta.
4 oz grated parmesan, divided
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
oil or butter to grease the cupcake pan
3 cloves garlic
6 oz. sliced button mushrooms
1 lb. fresh baby spinach leaves
12 tablespoons tomato/pasta sauce
Optional shredded green herbs.
Use olive oil to grease well a non-stick cupcake pan. If you wish, you may insert paper cupcake cups into each holder. These spaghetti cups really want to stick to the pan so either use plenty of grease on the pan, or use the paper cups.
Boil a big pot of water. Salt well. Do not use oil in the water.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
While the water is heating, clean your mushrooms and spinach well. Mince your garlic.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Melt butter. When the mix is foaming, add the garlic to it and sautee for 15 seconds or so. Add the mushrooms and stir or flip to coat. Add a pinch of salt and stir or flip in the pan again.
Crack the pasta in half and add it to the boiling water.
Sautee the mushrooms until they are fairly soft and the raw mushroom texture is gone, about six minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms from the pan, reserving any juice/oil remaining.
Add the fresh spinach to the pan with a pinch of salt, and reduce heat to medium. If there isn't enough liquid in the pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir the spinach and sautee until it is all just wilted. Season to taste and set aside.
When the pasta has cooked, drain it from the pot and let cool five minutes.
Beat the eggs together in a big bowl with 2 oz of the grated parmesan and the optional fresh herbs. Add the cooled pasta to the bowl and mix well. You want to make sure the pasta has cooled enough that it doesn't scramble the eggs.
Divide the pasta among the 12 cupcake pan cups, underfilling each one by a 1/3" or so. Using a small measuring cup or a shotglass, press in the center of each cup to form a bowl, pressing the pasta to the sides and down, but not penetrating to the bottom of the pan.
Add a tablespoon of pasta sauce (it can be cold) to each cup. Divide the spinach among the cups and add the mushrooms on top of that.
Sprinkle the last 2 oz. of grated Parmesan evenly over the cups.
Bake in the 350 F. oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese gets golden brown and the pasta near the top of the cup is just taking on color.
Let cool for 3 minutes before serving. Run a knife around the outside of each cup and use a spatula to pull them out of the pan if you did not use paper.
Serve 2-3 cups per person as a light entree with a nice glass of Italian wine and a small salad.