So many options, where to start? The standard family friendly combos that require zero thought are:
- Tuna, black olives,olive oil and fresh dill
- Bacon and broccoli in a white sauce
- Traditional tomato
- Chicken with pesto (you can also add some white sauce to this which gives it a really lovely creamy texture.
Everyone loves lasagne but a good one is never quick to make so I don’t think it deserves to be in the list!
You can also substitute the bacon for smoked salmon, in which case add the salmon at the same time as the creme fraiche so it just warms through.
Bacon (or leftover gammon from a roast works extremely well), mushrooms, creme fraiche, white wine.
Chop and fry the bacon, add the chopped mushrooms and saute. Slug of white wine and simmer for a minute.Turn onto the lowest heat possible and stir in the creme fraiche, do not boil or the sauce will separate.
Dad’s lumpy pesto (I’m totally up for hearing some suggestions for decent name for this!!)
In fairly equal quantities: fresh tomatoes (cherry tomatoes quatered are good for flavour but any fresh cut to this approx size are good) , finely chopped sundried tomatoes, pinenuts toasted, then crushed in a pestal and mortar, parmesan, extra virgin olive oil and black pepper.
This pasta dish is quick, easy (unless using a grater gives you issues) and is great for summer evenings when you can’t be bothered to BBQ.
900g linguine (or bog standard spaghetti if that’s what you’ve got in the cupboard)
2 egg yolks
160ml double cream
8 tbsp parmesan, grated
1 Lemon, zest whole and juice 1/2
60g unsalted butter
2-3 tbsp copped parsley
While your pasta cooks mix your other ingredients apart from the butter in a bowl. Once your pasta is cooked, drain, return to the hot pan and stir in butter, once thats melted, coating the pasta mix in your other ingredients. Serve immediately.
Something for the grown-ups
Cavalo nero (black kale), pancetta, garlic, chilli, dry marsala, fresh parsley
Fry up the pancetta, once it’s starting to colour, add finely chopped garlic and chilli, give it another minute then add the marsala and the shredded cavalo, stir and pop a lid on for approx 3 min. once the cavalo is cooked add the finely chopped parsley, stir in the pasta and serve.
So this is basically the grown-up version of Nigella’s dish but I really liked the extra creaminess and it’s a perfect alternative to those not doing egg.
Juice and fine zest of 2 lemons
Bunch of asparagus
160g frozen broad beans (you can obviously use fresh, approx 450g)
400g Spaghetti/linguine etc
160g Frozen peas (or 450g fresh)
4 tbsp Marscapone
Smalll bunch of torn fresh basil.
Put your pasta into boiling water.
Bring the cream and lemon zest to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes
Add your veg to the pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking time.
Drain pasta and veg reserving 50ml of cooking water, thats approx a ladle full, and return it to your pan, adding the cream, lemon juice and marscapone. Bring back to the boil then mix in pasta, parmesan, basil and seasoning. Serve immediately.
Lastly some thoughts on nutrition and portion size. It’s become the cultural norm to serve (especially to kids) massive bowls of pasta as the main bulk of the dish, with a bit of sauce and a couple of token pieces of veg. This is not healthy or a good lesson for your child on balanced eating, so time to up the veg and think of pasta as part of the meal not the whole thing.
This is a good one to keep in your brain when dishing up: Food Plate
Check out this really thorough guide if you’re interested: Nutritional Guidance in early years