If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s children love pasta. Pasta with sauce, pasta with cheese, plain pasta with butter. The list goes on and on. I decided to introduce Audrey to the world of beloved pasta (I’m half Italian, so it’s only fair….), but there was no way it wasn’t going to be healthy. Here I’ve created a great version of pasta bolognese full of vegetables and flavor for kids of all ages. Toddlers can dig in by themselves, little ones, such as Audrey, can start to experiment with chunkier textures, and with a quick puree, babies can enjoy as well. Add a pinch of salt and some crushed red pepper and even mom and dad might want to grab a fork.
Baby Pasta Bolognese
9 months + up
Makes: 12-14 (4 oz.) servings
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb organic ground beef or turkey (I used grass-fed beef)
1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 26 oz. box of tomato puree
2 cups teeny weeny whole grain pasta, cooked according to package directions. Try orzo, stelline (little stars), or acini de pepe (little beads). * I used a 100% corn alphabet pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
In a wide skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add meat; with a spoon break into small pieces while cooking. Saute for 5-7 minutes, or until meat is cooked through.
Meanwhile, place onion, garlic, carrots and celery in a food processor and pulse until all vegetables are very finely shredded.
Transfer cooked meat to a paper towel lined plate. Wipe out pan. Add remaining teaspoon of oil back to the pan and saute vegetables on medium until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add meat along with the tomato purée back to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until desired thickness. If you’d like the sauce thinner, add a bit of stock or water. Stir in cooked pasta and parsley and serve.
* If serving to a baby, puree in the food processor after adding the pasta.
Freezing Tip: You can easily cut this recipe in half, but I like to make the whole recipe and freeze it in freezer trays. Once frozen, pop out of trays and store in labeled freezer bags. They will last for 3 months. Then just reheat and serve.
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