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.
Hi! I made this a few weeks back and it was a hit! Everyone loved it! I felt so happy I got everyone to eat veggies (husband and toddler do not eat veggies!!). I made it again yesterday though, and it doesn’t taste good somehow. We are eating the leftovers today. Any suggestions? I didn’t add any seasonings yesterday. Should I add salt? Red pepper? Pepper? I’m not sure our celery was that fresh. I also didn’t have cilantro on hand. Would love any suggestions!
Hi – I’m sorry to hear that. Yes, it could be a combination of many things that made it taste different. Veggies that aren’t fresh would be my guess here. Esp. if you made it exactly the same way as the first time. Also – use parsley, def not cilantro. And you can absolutely add seasonings – salt, pepper, anything that you enjoy. Hope it works out better next time!
Hi. I am making it now…struggle to figure out how much tomato paste to use. The recipe says 1 26 oz. box of tomato puree??? In gram? Are the tins fine?
Hi – yes, 2 (14oz cans/tins) would be the perfect replacement (1 14oz. can U.S. is = to approx. 400g). Hope this helps and enjoy!
Thank you for sharing this recipe! It was delicious and my 6-month-old son thought so too! I made it for him, but ended up serving the whole family… After making it and serving my son, I had my husband taste it. And he thought with some seasoning, it would make a great dinner for that evening. So, I set aside some to freeze for my son and served the rest for dinner. It was really nice to make one dinner!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Anna!! Thank you for sharing – I hope you and your family will enjoy more of my recipes.
what brand of tomato puree did you use?
Deep Web says
Thank you for sharing. I would love to eliminate grains as well. Did you take out potatoes as well? Ok, what do you eat the squash with or drizzle on top? Loving it.
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This was great! I used tomato sauce instead of puree since I had it on hand, and stirred in some frozen peas and spinach at the end. My 14 month old loves it (and I think it’s pretty good too!). I used whole wheat elbows and they’re small enough for him to manage with his 2 teeth. I love that it makes a big batch, and I put it in silicone ice cube trays so I can save it and defrost each day.
I love that idea, thanks for sharing and for posting this!!!!