Mellow Mummy: Cooking with Children : Pasta With Pesto, Roast Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes : Taking life as it comes...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cooking with Children : Pasta With Pesto, Roast Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes

Garofalo pasta is very popular in our household (and with our overseas family). Garofalo have recently launched their children's pasta shapes (Giostra dei Bambini) which are FAR more grown up than most pasta specifically targeted at children, and so they are a hit in our house.

On Monday Lara helped me to make a really simple home-made pesto to accompany her Dischi Volante (flying saucers) pasta. This is an astonishingly fast recipe that is bright and fun for children to make and is a healthy, balanced meal ideal for summer. For us, it is a great way of using some of the wonderful produce currently in our garden. We find Basil to be quite an overpowering flavour so this home-made pesto is made with parsley and mint to cut through the Basil tang!

Serves 2 adults and one hungry toddler.

A large handful of fresh basil leaves (about 3 full stems or about 30 leaves)
A large handful of fresh mint leaves (about 3 full stems or about 50 leaves)
A large handful of fresh parsley leaves (the more the merrier)
A small clump of chives (about 10 leaves)
2 tablespoons cashew nuts
1 tablespoon pine nut kernels
1 large slug of olive oil
Ground black pepper
1 match-box sized piece of hard cheese (traditionally parmesan, but we used cheddar!)
10-15 cherry tomatoes
2 roasted chicken breasts (cold, with or without skin)
Garofalo Dischi Volante pasta 260g (we allow 100g per adult and 60g for Lara)

Please bear in mind that although it looks as if Lara is independently weilding sharp kitchen instruments, one of us is behind her at all times and that children should be supervised at all times in the kitchen.

Step 1. Tear all of the basil leaves and mint leaves from their stalks and place them in a blender. Put the chives and all of the parsley into the blender (don't bother removing the stalks).

Step 2. Add the pine nut kernels and the cashew nuts (the cashews give the pesto a wonderful creamy texture)

Step 3. Grate the cheese using a very fine grater (avoiding those tiny little finger tips)

Step 4. Add the cheese to the blender with a grind or two of black pepper

Step 5. Pour in a good slug of olive oil. Start with about 2 tablespoons full and then add more if the final mix looks a bit too firm.

Step 6. Blend to a fine paste (fine enough and liquid enough to stir into pasta)

Step 7. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and then cook the pasta to its instructions

Step 8. While the pasta is cooking, slice the cherry tomatoes in half (and eat a few as you go... if you're Lara)

Step 9. Chop the chicken breasts roughly. You can keep the skin on or remove it if you prefer.

Step 10. Drain the pasta and then stir in the chicken slices, tomato halves and all of the pesto mixture before serving.

Step 11. Enjoy!

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