Spotlight Series: All About Pasta Nests

Spotlight Series: All About Pasta Nests

What are pasta nests exactly? How are pasta nests different from regular pasta?

While most dried pasta is packed flat in plastic sleeves or loosely filled in cardboard boxes or plastic bags, there are a few extra-special pasta varieties that are twirled into portion-sized heaps and dried. These unique bundles of noodles are called pasta nests, since they resemble small bird nests.

Rigatoni pasta in a creamy tomato and cheese sauce with chicken and served in a bowl

Shop DeLallo Pasta Nests:

What Are Pasta Nests?

A pasta nest is a portion of long pasta noodles that is twirled together into a small pile that resembles a bird’s nest. These nests are convenient in the kitchen, as they are already portioned out and easy to place into boiling water to cook. Flat, ribbon-style Italian noodles like Pappardelle and Tagliatelle are the most common type of pasta that is sold in dried pasta nests, but especially delicate pastas like Capellini are sometimes formed into nests as well. Packaging them in these little bundles helps to protect the dried pasta from breakage. The thin, flat noodles are delicate and can snap and break in flat packaging.

Rigatoni pasta in a creamy tomato and cheese sauce with chicken prepared in a pot

How Are Pasta Nests Made And What Is It Made Of?

Pasta nests are made of pasta, which is primarily composed of durum wheat, water and sometimes egg. Long, flat egg noodles that resemble ribbons are often made into nests. The fresh pasta dough is rolled out, cut, dusted with flour and arranged into nest-like piles to dry. Along with dried pasta, homemade or fresh pasta is often sold in nests. For most retail sales, the pasta nests are air-dried and then packaged to be sold on supermarket shelves.

Some noodles popular in Asian cuisines, such as bean thread noodles are also sold as nests. These thin, long noodles are extremely delicate and are easier to transport in bundled nests.

How To Cook Pasta Nests

Pasta nests are convenient to cook since they are already portioned, so there is no need to eyeball how much pasta to cook for dinner. When cooking DeLallo Pasta Nests, we recommend the ratio of 2 pasta nests per person for a main dish or entrée. As a side dish, we recommend 1 pasta nest per person.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add your desired number of pasta nests. Allow them to cook for a few moments, just long enough that the noodles soften slightly. Once the pasta nests have untangled a bit, stir the noodles. Cook according to the package instructions, or until pasta reaches that al dente texture. Check continually for doneness. Before draining and tossing with your favorite sauce, reserve 1 cup of pasta water to help with the consistency of your sauce, if necessary. Add the hot pasta right to the saucepan with your pasta sauce and toss. Cook together for 2 minutes to marry the flavors.

The Best Pasta Nests - The Delallo Difference

DeLallo Pasta Nests start with great pasta. High-quality durum wheat is combined with spring water and fresh eggs to form the pasta dough. The noodles are extruded through bronze dies for an artisanal texture that perfectly captures sauces. The fresh pasta is then twirled into nests and air-dried before packaging. DeLallo offers several different varieties of pasta nests, including Tagliatelle, Egg Pappardelle, Capellini and Egg Fettuccine.

Pasta Nests Recipes And Usage Ideas

Pasta nests can be sauced and served as you would other pasta. If you are using egg pasta, keep in mind that the pasta will be sturdier with a richer flavor. Because of this egg pasta is great for heartier sauces like meaty Bolognese sauces and chunky ragùs. Pasta nests can also be enjoyed with simple sauces of brown butter or olive oil. Creamy, herby and meaty sauces all pair nicely in equal measure. Flat noodles like pappardelle are also a nice choice for a rustic chicken noodle soup.

For more pasta nest recipe ideas, see our recipe collection.

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Mascarpone Cheese

The Best Sauces For Pasta Nests

A wide range of pasta sauces works well with pasta nests. Tagliatelle, pappardelle and fettuccine are all long, flat noodles that are frequently paired with creamy sauces like alfredo and meaty sauces like rustic ragús, as well as simpler sauces like butter and herb or pesto. Try serving pappardelle with a creamy lemon sauce and tagliatelle with fig, goat cheese and prosciutto. Capellini, also known as angel hair pasta, is a thin, delicate pasta that is often tossed with a simple fresh tomato and basil sauce or light olive oil and seafood sauces.

Pasta Nest Substitutes

You can substitute pasta nests in a recipe with a comparable flat-packed pasta. Pappardelle and tagliatelle are frequently sold as nests and can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Flat noodles like fettuccine are a good substitute. You can sometimes find angel hair pasta in flat packs, which are a good substitute for capellini pasta nests. Spaghetti will work in a pinch.

Delallo Pasta Nests: FAQ

Why Should I Use Pasta Nests?

Pasta nests tend to be made using high-quality egg pasta, so you know the end result is going to be delicious. It can be difficult to portion typical flat-packed pasta, since it is tricky to visualize exactly how much you need. Pasta nests are easy to portion since they’re rolled up into little nests that are a half portion each. You simply drop them in the boiling water and give the noodles a stir.

Do Pasta Nests Stay Together When Cooked?

As the pasta cooks, the nests of noodles will loosen and straighten out in the boiling water, losing their spiraled shape. Once cooked, you cannot tell any difference visually between pasta that was dried straight and stored in a flat package and pasta that was shaped into a nest. We recommend stirring the pasta once or twice as it cooks to untangle.

How Many Pasta Nests Do I Need For One Person?

We recommend 2 DeLallo Pasta Nests per person for a main dish serving. For a lighter dish or side dish, serve 1 nest per person.

Where To Buy Delallo Pasta Nests?

DeLallo Pasta Nests are available for ordering on our website as well as at most major supermarkets across the country.