Italian cookery writer Valentina Harris has created these delicious recipes for toddlers featuring the new range of Garofalo pasta shapes, which include stars and moons, cars, trucks and flying saucers! All guaranteed to have your little one tucking in with gusto!
Stars and crescent moons make up the shapes of this gorgeously pretty variety of pasta for children. So I am inspired to create something that reminds me of shooting stars and happy dreams. Dress the pasta with as much of the sauce as you like, as some children like lots of sauce and others only want it barely coated, and refrigerate or freeze the rest for later use. To turn it into something slightly more sophisticated, substitute the ham for chopped chorizo or salami, and add some finely snipped fresh chives.
To dress up to: 120 g/4 1/2 oz Garofalo Anistelle pasta for children
- 1 spring onion, very finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons organic tomato passata
- 2 tablespoons mascarpone or single cream
- 1 slice cooked ham, cut into strips
- 3 baby sweet corn cobs cut into thin comet tail strips
- A pinch of salt
- Long shavings of fresh Parmesan, to garnish
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, fry the spring onion very gently in the olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the passata and stir together. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, and then stir in the mascarpone or cream, the ham and the sweet corn cobs. You should end up with a sauce that is swirly and dreamily pink, with the long comet tails of the sweet corn through it. Cook the pasta until tender in the boiling water, drain and toss with the sauce. Pile the pasta into bowls or on to plates, garnish with the Parmesan shavings and serve at once.
PS For special occasions, finish off the dish with a tiny dusting of edible gold glitter, a little stardust sometimes works wonders on even the fussiest of diners!
Traffic Light Pasta
Cars and little trucks feature amongst the shapes in Pazzielle, so I thought a traffic light theme might be quite fun. Involving children in the cooking process not only teaches the a valuable life skill, but it also encourages them to want to eat the food they have helped to make, so for this recipe you can all get cracking on the job of de-seeding and cubing the tomatoes. To make this more ‘grown up’ add some chopped sun blush tomatoes and a tablespoon or two of pesto.
To dress up to: 120 g/4 1/2 oz Garofalo Pazzielle pasta for children
- 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons sweet corn, canned or frozen (defrosted)
- 3 tablespoons peas, canned or frozen (defrosted)
- 4 ripe, firm tomatoes, de-seeded and cut into cubes about the same size as the peas and sweet corn
- A pinch of salt
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta shapes as directed on pack. Drain and toss with the butter and the Parmesan, then stir through the sweet corn, peas and tomatoes and serve.
Creamy Tomato Pasta
This flying saucer shape calls for something creamy and delicious like this very simple creamy tomato sauce, where you can hide plenty of vegetables too! To the basic, fat free sauce you can add crisp cubes of pancetta, sautéed mushrooms or even a few thin slivers of Parma ham. Or try it without the ricotta, just as a really deliciously simple tomato sauce.
To generously dress up to 120 g/4 ½ oz Garofalo Dischi Volanti pasta for children
- 1 can plum tomatoes
- 1 stick celery, quartered
- 1 carrot, quartered
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- sprig each parsley and basil
- 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- A pinch of salt
- Freshly grated Parmesan to serve
Put the tomatoes, celery, carrot, onion and herbs into a saucepan and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and simmer until all the carrot is tender. Blitz in the food processor and push through a sieve to remove any tomato seeds. Alternatively, go old fashioned and use a mouli! Return the sauce to the stove and boil it to reduce to a thick consistency, then stir in the ricotta and remove from the heat. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta until tender, drain and toss with the sauce to cover. Serve sprinkled with a little freshly grated Parmesan.
Mini Meatball and Tomato Sauce Pasta
Meatballs are a great way to feed kids as you can hide all kinds of goodies inside them that they’ll never even know about! Making them really small makes them easy to eat and to mix with Motori pasta. You can make a huge batch of these and freeze them for later use
- 2 to 3 tablespoons richly flavoured Extra Virgin olive oil
- 1 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly crushed
- 200g/7 oz fresh or canned tomatoes or passata
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley or other herb of your choice
- 200 g/7 oz minced veal or beef or turkey or chicken
- 50 g/2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
- 50 g/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/4 wine glass cold water
- 1 egg, beaten thoroughly
- 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
- sunflower seed oil for deep frying
- freshly grated Parmesan, to serve
Fry the garlic very gently with the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan. You only just want to flavour the oil slightly, so use your nose to smell the oil as it heats, when the garlic is sizzling, but before it goes brown (otherwise it will make the sauce bitter) take the garlic out and throw it away. Pour in the tomatoes and stir carefully. Simmer over a lively heat for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is glossy and thick. Season to taste, add chopped parsley, basil or other herbs as you prefer, keep warm and cover until required. Mix the meat, fresh breadcrumbs, cheese, egg yolk, salt, pepper and parsley together very thoroughly, then blend in the water gradually. Mix with your hands for a few minutes, then shape the mixture into small balls about the size of a small cherry. Roll in the beaten egg and fine dry breadcrumbs and then fry in hot sunflower seed oil for a few minutes, or until crisp and browned, turning frequently. Drain thoroughly on kitchen paper and transfer into the tomato sauce. Stir gently and heat through for about 5 minutes. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook until tender. Drain and mix with the meatballs and tomato sauce and serve with just a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.
BAKED MOTORI WITH HAM AND CHEESE
This is a very simple and easy dish that I remember very fondly from my childhoood in Tuscany. I really prefer to use Penne when I make this as it fits the memory much better, but I’ve tried it out with the Motori shape from the Garofalo range and it really works too. You can of course add other things to the dish such as grilled bacon, cooked peas, mushrooms or cauliflower florets, or blue cheese for a much stronger flavour. You can easily make this ahead and freeze it for later.
- 140 g Motori pasta
- salt and pepper
- 200 ml/7 fl oz ready made béchamel or cheese sauce
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 slices best baked ham, chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat through the sauce and melt three quarters of the cheese into it. Drain the pasta and pour it back into the pot. Add three quarters of the sauce and the ham. Mix together. Grease a large ovenproof dish with half the butter. Pour in the dressed pasta and arrange it carefully. Pour over the remaining sauce and dot with the remaining butter. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at Gas mark 6/400 F/200 for about 15 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven, rest for 5 minutes, then serve.
Check out more toddler tea time meal ideas here.