Love Is In The Air Love Nests


March 22, 2013 by Joanne T Ferguson


I don’t know WHAT has gotten into me lately? lol As SOON as I enter my kitchen, music starts! It doesn’t matter what song, from what era, but music starts! (If “only” in my head! πŸ˜‰ )

Anyone who “knows” me, “knows” my passion aka “enthusiasm” for life and cooking (I now can add baking too! πŸ˜‰ )

So, the other day when I entered my kitchen, (and no, the radio was not on lol), I started hearing John Paul Young‘s Love Is In The Air to which I started “singing” (remember it is not my best family trait like in If I Knew You Were Coming Pound Cake; but it never stops me from enjoying “the passion” when it comes to cooking and food! πŸ˜‰ ) I hope this song gets you in the mood too! πŸ˜‰

It was after I sung this song MANY TIMES with John aka JPY aka “Squeak” (lol) that it dawned on me that I had saved a recipe for Love Nests in my What’s On The ListΒ  Folder from Michelle Southan, the Food Editor of Australian Good Taste (August 2012).

I “specifically” remembered the quote that went with the recipe:
“Enter into a whirlwind romance with this dish – we guarantee it will blossom into a life-long affair.”

Well, I must have gotten caught up in the whirlwind romance and created my passionately “adapted” Rustic version of Love Is In The Air Love Nests. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

Ingredients for Marinara Sauce
2 x 28 ounce (~4 1/2 cans 400 grams) diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, finely diced (can substitute onion flakes πŸ™‚ )
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I used salt reduced)
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (adjust for your personal taste)
6 anchovies, finely diced
1 tablespoon Xylitol (feel free to substitute sugar πŸ˜‰ )
2 tablespoons water
40 grams pancetta, finely diced
40 grams chorizo sausage meat (feel free to substitute whatever sausage meat (ground, out of casing) you would like πŸ˜‰
salt and pepper to taste

Heat deep fry pan then add oil; fry onions for about 3 minutes; add garlic; fry additional 2 minutes until onions are soft.

Add in tomato paste; stir for about a minute until combined.

Add in diced tomatoes in tomato juice, bay leaf, anchovies, water, red pepper flakes and xylitol; adjust to personal taste.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes.

In additional fry pan, fry pancetta and chorizo sausage meat until golden brown; add to marinara mixture.

Marinara done! πŸ™‚

Ingredients for Bechamel
10 grams unsalted butter (.35 ounces)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
2 teaspoons fresh chives
3 tablespoons shredded cheese (I used Kraft Italian 3 Cheese Blend)

I know “freshly grated” Italian cheese is best; I like to use up what I have and due to um, “circumstances” πŸ˜‰ , staying away from sharp blades in a grater is what’s best for me today! πŸ˜‰
Should you like to read more about myΒ Activated Nuts Coconut Milk Tahini Spirooli Salad Adventures! πŸ˜‰

I “know” there will be some who disagree with my bechamel method, but this has always worked for me. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

In a saucepan, add all bechamel ingredients (except cheese) and stir “continuously” with a wooden spoon until sauce thickens.

WHEN you make this, you will know WHEN this is! πŸ˜‰

Bechamel done! πŸ™‚

Ingredient for Filling
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
120 grams (~4.2 ounces) fresh ricotta
75 grams (~2.65 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed; WELL drained of any excess liquid
65 grams (~2.3 ounces) sun dried tomatoes
oil spray

Heat oven to 180C. (350F)

Place breadcrumbs on a baking tray; bake for 5 minutes (until dry, not browned); remove; set aside.

In a bowl, combine ricotta and spinach.

Can combine 50 grams (~1.7 ounces) of the 65 to the spinach and ricotta or you can save it to top the nests before baking; your choice. πŸ˜‰

Spinach ricotta mixture done! πŸ™‚

Other Ingredients
250 grams dried Barilla Wholewheat Spaghetti No 5

Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water; cook for 7 minutes (al dente); drain; oil spray; set aside for about 10 minutes.

Spaghetti done! πŸ™‚

Hint and Tip
DO NOT rinse the pasta as it will need the “stickiness” for the nests.

“ASSEMBLE, ASSEMBLE, ASSEMBLE!” (seems to be a favorite food expression of mine too! πŸ˜‰

I used an 10 inch round fluted pan. (choose what round dish works for you πŸ˜‰ )
This held 4 nests “comfortably” You may need more than one pan depending on how much you would like to make.

Hint and Tip
Oil spray bottom of the pan as it will make cleaning easier later! πŸ˜‰

Place ladles of marinara (I used about 3 -4) in the bottom of the dish.

Here is a GREAT tip I developed “by accident” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Place 1/2 cup of cooked pasta into a plastic measuring cup. Place the 1/4 plastic cup inside the cup with pasta. If you don’t have plastic measuring cups, you get the idea that the spaghetti needs to be “packed” down tightly; can do by hand while pasta is “in” something.

QUICKLY, turn measuring cup over onto marinara sauce; be gentle but quick lol You want it so it looks like a mound.

G-E-N-T-L-Y, with the back of a teaspoon push down on the spaghetti to form a round hold without going through the bottom of the spaghetti. You can stop with the teaspoon fits inside the nest with a bit a room around it too!

Trust me, it IS EASY; SOUNDS difficult, but is easy and if you ‘talk to the spaghetti” like I do, it will be “more than happy” to help you create this U-N-I-Q-U-E nests too! πŸ™‚

Anything in the name of love” it “wooed” to me! πŸ™‚

I “wonder” am I the only one food talks to or is it because of my “passion” in creating this Love Is In The Air Love Nests recipe?

Place 1 – 2 teaspoons of spinach ricotta mixture in the base of the nests. with a spoon (or with your fingers πŸ˜‰ ) GENTLY push down until it covers the base. You do not want to push too hard that the nest will collapse. πŸ˜‰

Top with 1 -2 teaspoons of bechamel sauce.

Top with breadcrumbs; can add a few pieces of shredded cheese (optional)

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

I would love to hear your comments aboutΒ Love Is In The Air Love Nests and have your tried Barilla Wholewheat Pasta too? πŸ™‚

I was SO glad last year I had put Love Nests “on the list” and it is now “off the list“, TRUE!

I know it “sounds” like a long list of things to do, but you can make this easily and economically too! Reheats well the next day too! πŸ™‚

I SO hope I can “inspire” you to do! πŸ™‚

I personally love cooking with Barilla Wholewheat Spaghetti No 5 and Barilla Wholewheat pastas as it has 3 times more fibre than regular pasta; healthy and tasty as can be!

Look forward to more recipes with Barilla pasta products in the future to see! πŸ™‚

Ciao! And may “Romance be in the Air” for YOU! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ ;-);-)

This week I was “once again” welcomed to the Foodie Friends Friday Party at Winelady Cooks! I think the word has “well and truly” got out that I do enjoy a party! πŸ˜‰

I thought I would make these Love Is In The Air Love Nests (with 4 cloves of garlic minced πŸ˜‰ ) and thought they would appeal to “children of all ages” too! πŸ˜‰

12 thoughts on “Love Is In The Air Love Nests

  1. […] “seemingly” like YELLING this like in Love Is In The Air Love Nests, in Nidi di Rondine and in Wrap Yourself Happy Manti […]

  2. Love the recipes. They look great, especially the nests! Thank you for joining Foodie Friends Friday!

  3. babso2you says:

    Looks amazing and a must try!

  4. Anoushka says:

    That sauce sounds wonderful!

    • Thanks Anoushka This was the first time I used finely diced anchovies in my home made marinara sauce; had intended on using capers, but always like to use up what I have on hand! πŸ™‚

  5. terry1954 says:

    Now you can start mixing and beating to the beat of the music!

  6. Gorgeous dinner Joanne! And I noticed that you used the Barilla wholemeal spaghetti-I also love this. I find it difficult to find though which is a bummer 😦

    • Thanks Lorraine! Initially I had difficulty located it too, but my local Coles now has a wide variety of Barilla products too!

      I can follow up with Barilla tomorrow and find out where locally you can purchase and will get back to you! πŸ™‚

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About me

Joanne T. Ferguson

Passionate Home Cook who tries to inspire one recipe and one event at time!


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