hand to mouth pasta
Sometimes you need something quick, easy and tasty made out of ingredients you have on hand. You also need to feed a very hungry little beastie who demands to feed himself. No purees or apple sauce for this guy, that’s for babies.
Sometimes (read: all of the time) you can’t be bothered making separate meals. You need something that you both will enjoy, and the wee one can feed himself. Kill two birds with one stone (don’t worry, I’m a vego, there are no real bird murderings on this blog) and make this:
Cheesey Peasy Broccoli Pasta
I’ve tried to create something that uses staple pantry/fridge ingredients. Dry pasta, milk, cheese, butter, flour and some vegetables. I always add a heap more vegetables to my dish when I make this – chopped cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, olives, whatever I have on hand, it’s pretty fool proof in terms of additions. I didn’t want this dish to be too ‘saucy’ as I can’t be bothered with all of the mess when Misty feeds himself. Basically, the sauce coats the pasta and gives it flavour, without too much liquidy stuff.
This is pretty much the first class in Sauces 101 – a basic white sauce. This is based around a roux (in layman’s terms, a cooked mixture of flour and FAT). Don’t be scared, it’s super easy and is the base for all sorts of fun dishes as well as being great simply poured over veges. I’ve made many versions, including vegan options* – today as I am cooking for Misty, I’m going with a more traditional style.
1T unsalted butter
2T brown rice flour (not so traditional, it’s usually just plain flour, but this works fine)
1C whole milk, heated
1/2C grated cheese
1 1/2C pasta shaped of choice (if you’re feeding a little one who wants to DIY it, then chose something that they can pick up ie shells or spirals)
1/2C fresh or frozen baby peas (again, Misty enjoys picking up each individual pea)
1/3C cooked broccoli (or any other cooked vegetable you have on hand – cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potato, zuccinni would all be great)
Melt butter over a gentle heat in a small saucepan. Add flour and stir until it clumps up and forms something that resembles a ‘ball.’ Cook until it has a sandy texture (a minute or so) but has not changed colour. Gradually add your milk, which has been heated, bit by bit, stirring all of the time (a whisk is helpful to ensure no lumps of flour). Stir until thick, smooth and shiny. Season with black pepper (if you’re making it for grown up, now add a sh*t ton of salt, mmmmm salt).
Stir in cheese.
Cool slightly, pour into food processor with your cooked vegetables of choice and blend until smooth.
Cook pasta according to packet directions, and cook peas.
Combine sauce, pasta and peas.
Top with a little grated parmesan, and black pepper if you are that way inclined. Fresh herbs stirred through at the end would be amazing.
Makes one Mum serve and 2 baby serves. Easy peasy. Also cheesey. Not greasy or sleazy. Be quiet Lou.
*Vegan Sauce Variation
1T coconut oil/vegan butter substitute
2T brown rice flour
1C non dairy milk (I have done it with rice and soy – rice milk comes out much thinner, but tastes fine)
1/2C grated vegan cheese