Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get your spooky decorations up and think about fun recipes to make for your Halloween party or to enjoy at home.
One festive, simple, and delightfully creepy dish you can make is eyeball pasta! Keep reading for everything you need to know to make this unique Halloween pasta dish.
What is Eyeball Pasta?
Eyeball pasta is a simple pasta dish made to resemble eyeballs for a ghoulish Halloween meal. It features pasta (typically small shapes like ditalini or elbow macaroni) cooked in a white sauce or broth.
The “eyeballs” are formed by adding a meatball that has been colored and shaped to look like an eyeball. An olive or cheese can be added to the center for the “pupil.” The result is a bowl of pasta that looks like it is full of detached eyeballs!
Origins and History
Adding eyeballs to food and drinks has long been a Halloween tradition. However, eyeball pasta as its own specific dish has become popular in recent years as people look for creative ways to celebrate the spooky holiday.
The dish has been shared widely on recipe blogs, websites, and social media, helping it gain popularity. While its exact origins are unknown, it clearly stems from the fun tradition of making creepy eyed treats for Halloween.
Why Make It?
So why would you want to make a bowl of disembodied eyeballs? For starters, it’s a great way to get into the Halloween spirit! The creepy appearance helps set the mood for your Halloween bash. Kids and adults will get a kick out of the ghoulish appearance. It also shows off your creative holiday spirit.
Beyond the appearance, it’s also a tasty dish! The seasoned meatballs, pasta, and cheesy “pupils” make for a flavorful meal. So not only is it creepy, but it’s also delicious comfort food. It’s sure to satisfy while giving you a laugh.
Making eyeball pasta is also a fun, simple Halloween cooking activity to do with kids. Let them help roll and shape the “eyeballs” and they’ll have a blast. It’s the perfect way to get them involved in the holiday fun!
How to Make Eyeball Pasta:
Making eyeball pasta only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Here is a step-by-step guide:
- 16 oz pasta of your choice (small shapes like ditalini work best)
- 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 24 small mozzarella cheese balls or black olives for pupils
- 3 cups marinara sauce or broth
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix together the ground meat, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Roll into 24 evenly sized meatballs.
- Fill a skillet with oil and fry the meatballs over medium-high heat until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Slice the top 1/3 off each meatball so it has a flat surface. Dab a small amount of marinara sauce on the flat surface. Place a mozzarella ball or olive in the center to create the “pupil.”
- Pour the remaining marinara over the cooked pasta and mix well. For a white eyeball pasta, use chicken or beef broth instead.
- Place the eyeball meatballs over the pasta, spacing them out evenly.
- Garnish with parsley or basil and serve warm!
And that’s it – you now have a bowl of creepy, delicious eyeball pasta! For even more of a Halloween vibe, serve it in a carved out pumpkin or skull bowl.
Eyeball Pasta Variations
One of the great things about eyeball pasta is how versatile it is. There are lots of ways to alter the basic recipe to suit your tastes:
- Use different pasta shapes: Try using rotini, macaroni, farfalle, or other fun pasta shapes. Just make the meatballs proportional to the pasta size.
- Vary the meat: Ground turkey, chicken, pork or veal can sub in for the beef. Or try plant-based meat for vegetarian eyeballs.
- Change up the sauce: Alfredo, pesto, vodka sauce, or cheese sauce all work instead of marinara.
- Make spider eyeballs: Use stringy mozzarella strands coming out of the meatballs for a spider eye effect.
- Decorate it: Draw pupils or veins on the meatballs with food decorating gels for extra realism.
- Skewer the eyeballs: For a walkable appetizer, skewer the meatballs and serve with dipping sauce.
So feel free to get creative and make the eyeball pasta your own! The possibilities are endless.
Tips for Making Perfect Eyeball Pasta:
To get your eyeball pasta looking truly gruesome and realistic, keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure the meatballs are evenly sized so they match.
- Get the right ratio of meatball to “pupil.” Too big or small ruins the effect.
- Really press the olives or mozzarella into the center of the meatballs so they stay in place.
- If using olives, slice them width-wise so the inside of the olive looks like an iris.
- Put the meatballs close together in the pasta so they look clustered like real detached eyeballs would.
- Serve it in a hollowed out pumpkin or skull bowl for maximum Halloween vibes.
- Use decorating gels to make the veins in the meatballs for extra realism.
- Strategically place some meatballs face up and some face down for variety.
- Garnish with fresh parsley or basil to add color.
Follow the recipe carefully and use these eye-popping tips for the most impressive eyeball pasta that will freak out your family and friends!
How Kids Can Help
Eyeball pasta is a great recipe to get kids involved in making for a fun Halloween cooking lesson. Here are some of the ways kids can help:
- Shaping the meatballs into rounds
- Rolling the balls in breadcrumbs
- Pressing the “pupils” into the center of meatballs
- Drawing pupils or veins on the eyeballs with decorating gel
- Mixing the pasta and sauce
- Selecting fun serving bowls
- Coming up with spooky names for the eyeballs
- Helping decorate the table
Letting kids take the lead on making these creepy edible eyeballs will help build their cooking confidence and get them excited about Halloween!
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
You’ll likely end up with leftovers of this simple pasta dish. To store, keep the pasta and sauce separate from the meatballs. Place meatballs in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
Store cooked pasta in a sealed container for up to 5 days. When ready to eat again, reheat the sauce and meatballs together in a pan over medium heat until warmed through. Then mix with the pasta to serve.
You can also freeze eyeball pasta for longer storage. Allow components to cool completely before freezing in airtight containers. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove or in the microwave.
With proper storage, you’ll be able to enjoy this spooky pasta again and again!
Serving Suggestions and Menu Pairings
Eyeball pasta makes for a fun and complete main course, but you can also serve it alongside other terrifying dishes for the ultimate Halloween spread:
- Breadsticks: Shape these into “bones” for dipping in sauce.
- Witches fingers: Breadsticks or cookies shaped into creepy fingers.
- Bat wings: Chicken wings baked and decorated to look like bats.
- Mummy dogs: Hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll dough.
- Vampire punch: Any red drink like fruit punch with eyeball ice cubes.
- Graveyard pudding cups: Chocolate pudding with crushed Oreo dirt and gummy worms.
- Melted witch: Roast beef or pulled meat sandwiches decorated to look like a melted witch.
Pair eyeball pasta with a selection of these frightening foods for a memorable Halloween dinner or party!
Is it Safe to Eat?
Even though it may look rather unappetizing and downright disgusting, eyeball pasta made with the proper ingredients is completely safe and edible.
The “eyeballs” are simply just meatballs made from beef, turkey, or another cooked meat. The only odd part is the appearance, but it tastes just like any other pasta and meatballs.
To be on the safe side, follow proper food prep safety – cook the meatballs to the proper temperature, refrigerate leftovers promptly, don’t leave sitting out for extended periods, etc.
As long as you monitor for any signs of spoilage and stick to food safety guidelines, the eyeball pasta should pose no issues. Just don’t eat anyone’s REAL eyeballs and you’ll be A-OK!
Read More: Apple Spiderweb Pops – A Fun Halloween Treat
Bring Some Frightful Fun to Your Halloween
Looking for a dish that’s sure to be a hit at your next Halloween bash? Eyeball pasta is your answer! Not only does it look incredibly gory and spooky, it also tastes great. Kids and adults alike will get a kick out of this unique pasta. Whip up a batch following the steps above for a meal that’s to die for…or at least lose an eyeball for! Muhahaha!