Here’s a very very useful tip ladies—if nagging your husband in person doesn’t work, try Facebook. I have recently started another blog called Mumbai Foodies, and on the Facebook page of Mumbai Foodies, I had posted some pics of food made by Kalpesh. Not the healthy-food-for-kids kind, mind you. :-p Along with one of the pics, I mentioned that Kalpesh is a great cook but I haven’t managed to get him to cook something for Devansh yet. Then in one of the posts in that blog I mentioned the same thing and voila, virtual nagging worked. Kalpesh made pasta for Devansh today AND most importantly, Devansh liked it.
Few days back I had picked up organic Farfalle, made from durum wheat semolina from Godrej Nature’s Basket. I bought Farfalle because I thought Devansh might find the bow-tie look cute; he had not liked penne in the past. I also picked up mushrooms from there for the sauce. Now making pasta in mushroom sauce for Devansh was an extremely ambitious decision on my part. He had not been too crazy about pasta so far and I had not given him mushrooms before this, so I didn’t know if he would like them.
I made this veg mushroom pasta in white sauce, and clicked its pic and all, but I wasn’t pleased with the pic. I thought the pasta looked a bit dry, which was kind of OK for grownups but not so much for kids. I had added more milk in the pasta and given it to Devansh. He had eaten the pasta and liked mushrooms too (hallelujah). But I had not clicked the snap of the milky one and I didn’t want to post the dry pasta pic, so I thought I’ll make it again.
Few days later, I asked Kalpesh to pick up mushrooms on his way back, and he returned armed with mushrooms, basil, and parsley; he is making pasta he declared. Before I could protest he said he’ll make his in red sauce. Now Kalpesh is a red sauce person while I prefer white sauce, so I wasn’t really surprised by his choice. Devansh liked pasta in red sauce too. I must add that I didn’t give pasta to Devansh before he was 18 months at least. I was in no hurry to introduce readymade food to him unless it was baby food like Gerber products. I know once these kids grow up they’re going to want to eat burgers, pizzas, and pastas but till then I’m more than happy to make healthy and nutritious food like khichdis and daal-chawal for him. This is just once in a while thingy. 🙂
Pasta in Basil, Parsley, and Tomato Sauce Recipe
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes blanched, peeled, and pureed
- 1 small onion chopped
- Half of small size capsicum i.e. green bell pepper chopped
- 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
- Pinch of red chili powder optional
- Pinch of black pepper powder or one freshly crushed peppercorn optional
- 1-2 tbsp finely chopped basil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 th tsp dried herbs of your choice optional
- 1 cheese cube grated
- Olive oil for cooking
- 1 tsp butter
- 3 tsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tsp organic sugar you can use regular one if you want
- 1 cup Farfalle or pasta of your choice
- Salt to taste
- Cook pasta as per the instructions on the packet.
- If you are making this pasta for toddlers, coarsely grind onion and capsicum in a mixer. (Grind them separately.) If you are making it for bigger kids, it's OK to chop them finely.
- Heat a non-stick pan, add oil, and then add butter.
- Add garlic, sauté for 2-3 seconds, and then add the onion paste.
- Sauté for 3-4 minutes and then add capsicum paste. (Kalpesh didn't add mushrooms in Devansh's pasta, but you can add mushrooms and even zucchini if you want.)
- Sauté for 2-3 minutes and then add the tomato puree. (If you want to retain the color of the tomatoes, soak them in cold water immediately after blanching them.)
- Add black pepper powder, red chili powder, tomato ketchup, and sugar. (If you don't want to make the pasta spicy, don't add pepper and chili powder.) I recently bought Satvik's organic sugar and Kalpesh used that in the pasta. (Kalpesh says he needed to add sugar so that the sauce doesn't taste too tangy.)
- Mix the ingredients properly and allow them to cook on low flame for 7-8 minutes. (Keep stirring occasionally to ensure they don't get burnt.)
- Add dried herbs. Kalpesh used parsley, basil, and oregano. You can use herbs of your choice.
- Mix the ingredients properly and then add chopped (fresh) basil and parsley.
- Sauté for about 5 minutes, and then add 3/4 of the grated cheese.
- Add salt in the end. Since cheese and butter (Kalpesh had used the salted kind) both contain salt, Kalpesh thought he'll get a better idea of how much salt to add after both blend well in the sauce.
- Mix the ingredients well, and then add half tsp olive oil (optional), and cook the sauce for a couple of minutes more till it turns dark red in color. Kalpesh says he added the olive oil at this stage to make the sauce look glossy.
- Add cooked pasta in the sauce, mix well, and then add the remaining cheese on top.
- Transfer the pasta to a plate and garnish with fresh parsley.