Crunchy Parmesan nests: great tasty finger food

Crunchy Parmesan nests: great tasty finger food

By 20/03/2014

Whenever I get back from Italy, I drop my heavy luggage near the fridge. Inside there is always almost just food and oh.. a few cookery magazines too! I bring my favourite pasta, salami, artichokes, radicchio, Montasio cheese, San Daniele ham and ALWAYS my beloved, essential Parmesan cheese. At least 3 Kg each time.

Years ago, before the liquid restrictions were enforced at most airports, I was stopped by security for a routine check: I felt like a post war emigrant: when they opened my luggage inside there were huge ripe tomatoes (from granny) to make passata, about 3 Kg of honey from my grandfather (and his honey was amazing!), packets of pasta scattered everywhere, a couple of salami, ham and a fresh (but gutted!) chicken ready for the pot (home reared of course!). On top of that I was carrying by hand 6 bottles of my uncle's homemade wine. The security guards looked at each other and just said: "Just a normal Italian luggage". I didn't know luggage could be labelled according to nationality, did you?

In any case I was pleased they did not object to anything I was carrying and I did not have to be separated from my beloved "edible treasure"!

And talking about Parmesan I am eager to show you what I made yesterday: these cute and tasty Parmesan nests are ready in minutes. If you don't have Parmesan you can make them using any hard cheese you like (Pecorino would be great too). The more mature the cheese the better.

These would be suitable as a starter at a dinner party. You can put anything you like inside: prosciutto, salad, tomatoes, or even rice or pasta!

You can check my video too!

  • Prep Time : 2 minutes
  • Cook Time : 2 minutes


Cut a square (about 12 x 12 cm) out of a sheet of baking paper

Crunchy Parmesan Nests

Put it on the pan and sprinkle 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan over it forming a circle. Level the cheese well with the spoon

Crunchy Parmesan Nests

Switch the heat on and cook the cheese over a gentle heat. Let it melt and cover any "holes" with some extra Parmesan. Now quickly pick the paper up and turn it upside down over an upside down glass. Press the paper well with your hands so that the cheese will take the shape of the glass

Crunchy Parmesan Nests

Remove the paper and let the cheese harden for a couple of minutes

Crunchy Parmesan Nests

Now gently remove the cheese from the glass and you have your basket ready to fill according to your taste. If it still feels very soft put it in the fridge to harden for a few minutes

Crunchy Parmesan Nests

You can fill your baskets with little mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes and lambs lettuce or rocket leafs.

Crunchy Parmesan Nests

Or you can roll some ham or bresaola and make little roses.

Crunchy Parmesan Nests

Crunchy Parmesan Nests


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13 Responses to Crunchy Parmesan nests: great tasty finger food

  1. Diana

    Your luggage story was so funny! I love these nests…I have made them too…but never with the paper…and I now I see how much better it works with the paper! Great job!

  2. gloria

    Beautiful Alida!!
    I love these crunchy nests andd what beautiful colors cara!

    • Alida

      Thank you Gloria!

  3. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    These cheese nests are fantastic, Alida. I made them before, but using a upside down muffin tin. Gotta try your method.

  4. Choclette

    I am so enjoying the image of your suitcase stuffed full of Italian goodies from home. Your cheese nests are such a fab idea and a delicious one too. The thought of that 3K of parmesan has me feeling week at the knees.

  5. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,

    How beautiful! I saw this on FB last night and commented, but I didn’t get to see how you made them. You are so amazing. Love these little cheese bowls. This would be perfect for Easter Sunday as an appetizer. They look like little Easter Baskets. I could fill them with all the antipasto goodies, and that would look lovely on each dish at the table.SO colorful. Now the trick is to see if I can make these delicate cheese nests?

    I can just imagine your luggage filled with all the Italian foods. The aroma must be intoxicating. Thanks for sharing these, have a blessed weekend,

    Dottie 🙂

  6. la cucina di Molly

    Complimenti Alida, sono fantastici questi cestini, bella idea per presentare l’ antipasto! Mi piacciono tantissimo, belli anche da vedere! Baci e buona domenica!

  7. Catherine

    Dear Alida, I love your story of “Italian luggage”.
    These nests are beautiful, cheerful looking and of course delicious. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  8. Mimi

    These are beautiful! Love the video!

    • Alida

      Thank you Mimi it was my first. I enjoyed making it although it took me a while!

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  10. Coobster

    Great recipe Alida, but the parmesan won’t stick, as soon as I take it out to put it over thr glass, it all crumbles to pieces. Any tips??

    • Alida

      Try using more grated cheese so it will be more solid and it won’t crumble any more! Hope it will work out for you next time. 🙂

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