Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Courgette and Pesto Pasta for Babies and Toddlers


A recipe that was borne from a lack of ingredients; especially fresh herbs; there’s no point in my planting some at this time of year in my new garden.

Ok, courgettes (zucchini) aren’t seasonal at this time of year but I do love them as a hidden vegetable and there’s no reason why you can’t substitute for something else, I’d imagine blanched mashed broccoli might work.

I also love growing courgettes yet I’m always slightly disappointed with the results when I cook with them, especially where they’re the star.  This, along with the courgette chips recipe will be definitely something I make again when I have my pots and pots of golden yellow courgettes in the late summer.

The other great thing about this recipe is I always think I love pesto but I have to be honest that when I have it, I never like it as much as I thought I did.  Also I once tried my son with some pasta and pesto and, let’s just say that even with his fondness for strong flavours, it was a fail.  Well this is using pesto as a shortcut to some herbal flavour without having the fresh herbs and a gentle introduction for us both.

A word of caution; depending on where you live, it would seem different health care professionals advise different things on nuts in babies diets.  Where I live, my health visitor advised they’re fine from 6 months, as there are no nut allergies in our family (plenty of nutters though), despite the fact my son has eczema.  I know opinion varies though so do check.  The reason I raise this is because although pesto does not contain nuts (as pine nuts aren’t a nut in the allergenic sense), many commercial pestos replace all or part of the pine nuts with cashew nuts.

Likewise many commercial pestos use cheeses which are not vegetarian so if you are strict in not wanting to eat animal rennet, read the labels well or make your own.

Courgette and Pesto Pasta – serves one adult and one child.  Suitable for babies from the soft lump stage onwards

Ingredients

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
Spray oil or olive oil
½ large courgette or 1 small courgette (zucchini)
40g Extra mature cheddar
1 tsp Pesto
2 dsp Full fat cream cheese
Pasta, to taste.  I used approx. 90g for the two of us (I’m always surprised by packets recommending 100g per person but use more if you’re hungry!)

Method

Put the pasta in boiling water and cook until done to your liking.

As the pasta is cooking, saute the garlic in the oil or spray.  In the meantime, grate the courgette and add to the pan with the garlic on a low heat.   Stir until softened and so it has lost some of the water.  In the meantime, grate the cheddar.  Once the courgette is softened, add the cheddar, pesto, soft cheese and a little bit of cooking water from the pasta.  Mix into a sauce adding more water if needed.

Mix in the pasta and leave to cool until at the right temperature for your child (I find leaving the adult portion covered keeps it warm enough for me.)

Serve!

My son has been a little unsettled since our move.  New house, new nursery.  It’s all change.  For one of the first times in his life he got really fussy with food.  He ate all of this!  Definitely a result!


If you like this, why not try my creamy salmon pasta recipe?

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