by Matt Wade
Encouraging little munchers to eat their greens can be a tricky business. But not if you know the secrets to getting them to eat healthy the easy peasy way!
However there are some seriously fun Italian pasta shapes available to liven up a healthy dish and distract your little eaters from all the goodness they’re ingesting.
Here’s a nutrient-packed vegetarian pasta recipe, complete with pasta shape suggestions, that should see those greens get eaten.
Ingredients – serves 2
• Up to 100g/3.5oz of pasta per child (depending on age)
- ruote (wagon wheel pasta) – for little boys (and dirty tablecloths)
- farfalle (bow-tie pasta) – mucky collar alert!
- orecchiette (little ears)
• 250g/9oz fresh tomatoes (cherry or normal)
• 200g/7oz zucchini/courgette
• ½ a medium onion
• 10g/0.3oz basil leaves (roughly 10 good sized leaves)
• ½ teaspoon of chili powder
• Extra virgin olive oil
Step 1 - If using normal tomatoes, peel these by standing them in a bowl of kettle-boiled water for 2 mins. Then drain the water and carefully peel away the skins.
Chop these toms into small 1cm chunks.
- If using small cherry tomatoes, don’t peel these. Just chop into quarters.
- Chop the ends off the zucchini and slice as thinly as possible - the thinner the slices, the less time the softening and frying process will take.
- Wash and roughly tear the basil leaves.
- Chop the ends off the onion and peel it. Now slice it, again as thinly as you can.
Step 2 – Coat your frying pan with olive oil and heat on a medium heat hob.
When the oil is hot, turn down to low and add the sliced onion. Fry until soft – this usually takes maybe 6 or 7 mins.
Tip: If you don’t have a lid for your pan, this frying will take a minute or two longer.
Step 3 – When the onion is soft, throw in the zucchini and half a teaspoon of salt.
Fry gently on the same heat, stirring often, until the zucchini is really soft (almost molten). Allow 15 - 20 minutes for this.
Step 4 – Add the tomato. Turn up to a medium heat and cook for a further 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
- After 10 mins, stir in the basil leaves and chili powder!
Now is also a good time to boil two kettles’ worth of water and transfer this to your big pan. When it’s boiling, add the pasta and half a handful of salt.
(Check the pasta packet’s time; it will usually take 8 - 12 mins.)
Step 5 – When the sauce’s final 20 mins is up, take it off the heat while the pasta cooks.
When the pasta is ready (softened but not mush, AKA ‘al dente’), drain it and add to the frying pan.
Stir this mixture on a medium heat for 2 mins.
Molten veg-coated pasta shapes full of nutritional goodness, buon appetito!
Direct from the pages of Pasta recipes made easy.
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