Friday, January 20, 2012

Green pasta for picky little eaters

I had this box of spinach tagliatelle sitting at the very back of my pantry. I probably bought it because I saw some recipe with spinach tagliatelle that looked good. But I never made it. Maybe I chickened out of it because little brother unfortunately won't eat everything, and green pasta, well, it's green. Normally I just save some pasta from whatever I'm making before I add the sauce. Because when you serve little brother pasta with sauce, any sauce, you'll end up with "Mommy, I don't like the pasta, it's dirty!". He will accept a pat of butter, but that's about it. But in this case the pasta was the problem. Or so I thought.

Until yesterday, when I came across that box again. I took a deep breath, and showed it to little brother with as much enthusiasm as I could muster around lunchtime: "Wow, look what I found! Green pasta! Did you see something like that before?! How about we cook that for lunch?". To my surprise, he went for it and got all excited about the green pasta.

So we had green pasta for lunch, and what can I say, he ate it. And he even ate it with sauce. No idea what happened, maybe he was just too tired to notice or maybe it was the generous spoonful of mascarpone cheese, but he ate that entire bowl. That doesn't mean he'll eat anything like that again. But I will. Because I like green pasta.

Here's what we did:

Green pasta for picky eaters

  • 500g Spinach tagliatelle or any other pasta
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 2-4 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Cook pasta (I don't really need to say "according to package directions" or "in a pot of boiling salted water" or something, do I?). Meanwhile, thinly slice carrots and sauté in olive oil or butter. Add some sugar and salt to the carrots. Before you drain the pasta, reserve about a cup or so of the cooking water.

When the carrots are tender, add some generous spoonfuls of Mascarpone cheese and stir. Add some pasta water to thin the sauce and season with nutmeg, salt and maybe a little pepper (depending on how picky your little eater is). Add pasta and toss, adding more Mascarpone or pasta water as necessary to coat the pasta and carrots with sauce.

This also works well with some frozen peas thrown in or green beans, broccoli - especially if you're not using green pasta. For less picky eaters, I'd suggest starting with a finely diced onion and maybe some pancetta,

I added some cream and sugar to the leftover Mascarpone, stirred until creamy and added a dollop to fruit for little brother's dessert. Well, turns out he quickly figured out where the rest of that creamy goodness was and helped himself to seconds. And thirds. So now I know he can reach all the way up to the counter...

Anyhow, I'm glad that box of green pasta is gone. And no, I won't be buying more, at least not for now. I really need to clear out the stuff that's been sitting at the back of my pantry (a.k.a. my kitchen cabinets since I don't have a built-in pantry). I really want to have only those things in there that we use on a regular basis. I don't need to be prepared to cook every single recipe I come across, and I will only buy ingredients for those that I really, really want to make that week.

What's sitting at the back of your pantry?



  1. Wow. Little pickers are tough. "Dirty pasta" is funny though. The mister eldest hate lot of stuff. He doesn't like "sensation" in is mouth (spicy, stringy things, cheese, orange pulp...)

    And what a good idea to pair down the pantry. never tought of that even if I have 4 bag of brown sugar. Do you have an item that you keep rebuying even if you have mountain of it? Me, it's brown sugar. Every recipe I see with it, I buy a new pack...sigh

    1. Uh yeah, sugar and flour I always have too many extras, too! What bothers me more though is the sort of things I bought on a whim and don't really, really need or use. So it just sits there and eventually I end up throwing it out. Or I make something to freeze it for busy workdays and then always forget eating it. Sigh.

      Also: Sprinkles! I always buy too many sprinkles. And, well, pasta. Frozen broccoli. Tea. I could go on...


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