My mum calls us the pasta family. Every time she asks us what we are having for dinner the answer is pasta. It’s true – we love pasta – and what’s not to love? It’s delicious, cheap, versatile, easy to digest (which is very important for little people whose tummies struggle with less refined carbs) and a fantastic source of energy. Fusilli is especially good for kids because it’s easy to hold but Lexie likes ‘hat on’ pasta (orrochiete – she puts it on her little fingers and thinks they are hats) and also slurping up ‘sgetti’ (spaghetti). She loves this sauce and usually if we ask her what she’d like for dinner she says: “Nummy pasta ‘mato PLIS!”
Fresh tomato pasta is the first meal Lewis ever cooked for me and we still have in on average 4 times a week. If we go too long without having it we suffer withdrawal!! I should say the sauce keeps very well in the fridge for about a week if sealed properly (we use old jam jars).
We do three variations:
- Fresh basil
- Anchovies and chilli (not Lex friendly)
- Bacon and chilli (not Lex friendly)
Today was a leftovers day. Lex and I had yesterday’s lentils for lunch, she had the leek and potato soup for dinner and I was going to make us Vietnamese chicken noodles using leftover roast chicken. But I was soooo tired. So Lewis made dinner tonight and did our old favourite for me.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 – 30 mins
- 6 vine tomatoes or plum tomatoes (also on the vine ideally)
- Olive oil – generous is good
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic
- Chopped red chilli (optional)
- Chopped anchovies OR chopped bacon (optional)
- Fresh basil (optional)
- Salt – leave out if for kids
- Pasta – usually De Cecco
If you have the time and energy you can peel the tomatoes. We don’t usually bother but it makes a slightly smoother sauce. Make a little slit in each tomato and pour boiling water over them all. Leave for a minute or so then remove the tomatoes and the skins should slip off quite easily. Chuck the skins, chop up and set aside the tomatoes (Lewis removes the pithy core bit too – the white bit attached to the stem – I don’t).
Heat up the olive oil in a saucepan and add the garlic, fry but don’t let it brown. If you are having chillis and/or anchovies add them now. Just before the garlic starts colouring add the tomatoes. Keep the heat quite high, stirring to break the tomatoes up. Add salt at this stage if you want to (its a bit of a thrill for us these days if we actually put salt in food!). Turn the heat down so the sauce is bubbling gently.
We usually let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes or so before putting on the pasta. If you need a quick supper you can put the pasta on as soon as the sauce is cooking. If you are having bacon fry it now so it’s crispy and set aside in a bowl. Grate the parmesan now too and chop the basil, put in separate bowls and put on your table. When your sauce is done, usually after 20-30 mins, if you want you can juzz the tomato sauce in a blender. I do this if making the sauce for Lexie, it makes it smoother and a bit more orangey which I think she likes! The sauce in the pic below was juzzed. I definitely recommend doing this if your child says they don’t like garlic.
Once the pasta is cooked drain and put back in the pan with a swirl of olive oil (and a pinch of salt if you can!! More thrills!). Mix in the sauce (and bacon if having it) and serve with parmesan and basil if using. That is Lewis hand putting parmy on the pasta below!