Isabella, my 7 year old, is a big fan of pasta. Not just any type of pasta, though, only tomato-based ones. Before I had kids, I would always expect my future kids to only love creamy sauces with mushroom as I often see parents ordering the creamy ones in restaurants for their little ones. However, this is not to be for my kids. Being a kid with a dairy, eggs and peanut allergy, Isabella never had dairy until she was 6 years old. Before then, it was all soy milk, eggless vegan birthday cakes, sweet treats of only sorbets and fruit-based iced lollies. Thank God, she kinda grew out of it. Based on her paediatrician’s advice, we introduced dairy into her diet a little at a time and today we are happy to declare she is not dairy and egg tolerant anymore.
So at home, it has always been only tomato-based pasta for her and she absolutely adores it. This is so yummy and most importantly, it can be easily put together . Suitable for campervan adventures using the limited cooking utensils provided. This is a variation to the pasta whipped up on our third day in Perth. This is also a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables, by chopping up spinach or leafy greens finely so the kids can easily swallow them. (I have seen tortured kids chewing their veggies for ½ hour without swallowing and it just makes the whole eating experience stressful for everyone)
- 300g dried pasta (spaghetti or any pasta you fancy or have on hand) , this would yield 600g of cooked pasta
- 1 tin 400g canned chopped tomatoes
- 200g fresh cherry tomatoes
- 200g fresh sausages (from deli section in supermarket) *
- 100g red onions chopped
- 15g of minced garlic (1 or 2 cloves would work too)
- 100ml white wine or cooking wine
- 15 boccocini (baby mozzarella balls) before serving
- 30g basil pesto
- 1 tsp of salt and more salt for the pasta water
- freshly grated Parmigiano –Reggiano cheese for serving or any store bought grated parmesan cheese
- olive oil (a drizzle of good quality olive oil on the finished pasta before serving, makes the pasta a lot more fragrant and tastier)
- ½ tbsp sugar optional (I generally do find that with the addition of sugar, the kids enjoy the pasta sauce better)
Tip: *I like to buy Rudi’s fresh sausages from Cold Storage supermarket
- Chopped spring onion or parsley (my kids don’t like them but they do make the dish pretty)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Generously salt the boiling water. It should taste like sea water. Add the pasta and cook until tender but slightly firm. Read the instructions on the package. I would typically undecook my pasta a little, about 2 minutes less than the specified time on the package. Check for doneness. If you prefer it a little more cooked, add another 2 minutes to the cooking time.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat up a wok pan or deep frying pan. No oil needs to be added as the sausages naturally have fats and we want it to cook in its own fats. Add the sausages and fry till slightly brown. Add garlic and onions, and saute till fragrant but not burnt. Add the canned tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cherry tomatoes, salt to taste and the sugar (optional). Add the white wine. Cover and let it simmer while waiting for the pasta to be done.
- Check pasta for doneness. Once you are happy, use a tong and transfer the pasta to the wok pan which has the simmering pomodoro sauce. It is ok if some of the pasta water gets onto the sauce, the starchy water is actually good as it makes the sauce a little thicker.
- Quickly mix the pasta into the pomodoro sauce. Add the boccocini balls, basil pesto all over the pasta and a drizzle of oilve oil before serving. The grated parmesan cheese can be added at the table by the kids themselves. My kids love this stuff and would add a lot, too much