It’s getting to be that time in life where instead of getting invited to our friends’ keggers, we’re getting invited to our friends’ kids’ birthday parties! Our casual catering menu has served us well when it comes to kid-friendly food, but this week we took it up a notch for a very special party for a very special kid. We hope you love these meatball “birdies” in a noodle “nest” as much as we do!
First up, we prep our “face” ingredients. Use a 1/4 tsp measuring spoon to cut out eyes for the birds. Beaks and wings are cut from a yellow pepper. Choose the 12 best olive slices from a can to be the pupils for the birds’ eyes.
Real bird’s nests aren’t made up of just one kind of wood. Instead, they are usually twigs, grass, leaves, etc. I.E. A bunch of stuff! We decided to follow this process and brown the leftover yellow pepper and olives to mix with noodles for the nest. Additionally, I added shredded zucchini and sliced mushrooms (and of course, a little cheese) to the mix.
We served our birdies with a side of warmed tomato sauce. This recipe is easy enough to prepare WITH the kids, and it’s a fun and yummy way to sneak in a bunch of veggies. With that, I’d consider this a winning dish!
This recipe is a little time intensive, so plan ahead. It can easily be doubled for a large party. The recipe below serves two adults and two kids.
Meatball Birdies In A Nest
- 6 meatballs (Our Mozzarella Meatball recipe would be a great one to use here!)
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 can sliced black olives, drained
- 1 slice provolone or mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil
- 8 oz. spaghetti noodles
- 1 small zucchini, shredded
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (optional)
Prepare 12 bird “eyes” by cutting out 1/2″ circles from the slice of cheese. (A 1/4 tsp measuring spoon works great for this!) Select 12 olive slices from the can. Using a sharp knife, cut out 6 triangular pieces from the yellow pepper for the “beaks”. Make 12 rectangles from the pepper for the “wings”. Dice the rest of the pepper to add to the noodles.
Pour 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan over medium high heat. Once warmed, add the meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan and add move olive oil if necessary. Add all vegetables (besides the “eyes”, “beaks”, and “wings”) to the heated pan and cook until soft and browned.
Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package instructions and preheat oven to 350°.
Drain the pasta and return to pot. Add browned vegetables and shredded Parmesan to the noodles. Stir to combine. Using kitchen tongs and a twist of the wrist, make six nests of pasta in a greased 9″ X 9″ baking pan.
To make the birdies, press two rounds of cheese into each meatball. Top cheese with olive slices. Delicately press “beaks” into the meatball under the eyes. Do the same with the “wings” on the sides of the meatball. Place one meatball on top of each “nest”.
Bake the dish for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Heat optional tomato sauce just before serving. Serve alongside the spaghetti and meatballs.
Hope you enjoy our Recipe for Meatball Birdies In A Nest!