Pasta With Fresh Tomato Sauce

6 tomatoes (approx), half onion, tomato puree, olive oil, handful chopped basil, courgettes, peas, parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 - Prep time: 10 mins - Cook time: 30 mins

1. Take approx. 6 tomatoes, wash and mark a long cross at the bottom of them and put into boiling water for a minute.  The skin should have started peeling back slightly after that time.  Take out and rinse under cold water.  Slide the skins off and chop roughly.
2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan and fry some chopped onion for about 5 minutes until it starts to soften.  
3. Add the chopped tomatoes along with a squeeze of tomato puree and the basil and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer with lid on for 15 minutes then another 10-15 approx for the sauce to thicken slightly.
4. Whilst the sauce is cooking, steam whatever vegetables you’d like to add into the sauce when it’s cooked.  I lightly cook some courgettes and peas to add in, but any veg can be added!
5. Add parmesan cheese or whatever one works for the family.

How to serve this meal to your child

Beginner: ‘My child refuses any new meals’

Cook for yourself and reheat some of the sauce and serve alongside your child’s usual meal the next day to use for dunking some bread into. Or you could offer it as a small starter whilst they are waiting for their meal with any leftover pasta.  The great thing about this approach is that you are not cooking specifically for your child, you are giving them leftovers from a meal that you would have cooked anyway, so straightaway there is LESS expectation and pressure.  It’s about creating easy opportunities to widen your child’s food list.

Intermediate eater: ‘My child may try this new dish but I’m not sure’

Choose a day when you can eat together.  Offer other components your child usually eats so there is no pressure. Serve the sauce separately to the pasta so they can add as much as they wish or none at all if they are unsure!  Kids like the independence of building their own meal and being left to it. It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t touch the new meal, it is all about your child getting used to seeing new food and taking it in and also seeing you eat it to give them confidence for future meals.

Advanced eater: ‘My child eats most things I give them and is not phased by new food’.

Serve the new meal and if they unexpectedly do refuse it, the best advice is not to panic and don’t feel bad.  It’s just one meal. Say non-confrontational words such as ‘you don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to’ and see if they can try a bit in their own time. If they don’t, it is best to move onto the next mealtime and write it off and try another time!

Grace WillisComment