For someone with a devotion to feeding my family healthy food, I have a strangely mixed relationship with the kitchen. I am not a chef. I am a care-giver. I think, like me, most parents have times when it feels like they are trapped in the kitchen, trying to conceive and prepare tasty things that their kiddies will eat with the minimum of fuss.
Perhaps my devotion to Vegie Smuggling recipes is actually laziness-based. Parenting is exhausting and I really like to clock off at the end of the day. I love to feed them, bath them, and pop them into bed, with a clean conscience about their nutritional welfare. Because then what I really love is to sit with my hunky husband, a BIG glass of wine and a variation of whatever meal I whipped up earlier.
So a basic necessity for all Vegie Smuggling recipes is that everyone will enjoy them. At the very least, they need to be super-easy to adapt for adult palettes. Because there is more to life than being in the kitchen all night, and I just won’t cook and clean for the kids and then again later in the night for the adults. This recipe is a great example of how with the addition of a few extra ingredients (add them after you’ve served the kid’s meals) you can take a kid friendly meal into the realm of adult gourmet.
We’ve happily made many concessions to be a family, but eating boring food and being a kitchen slave just isn’t among them.
CAPTION: Serve the kids this, then add a few little extras and VOILA, a tasty grown-up meal.
Ravioli with orange sauce
This sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge. At the end of the day, cook your pasta (home-made if you’re a saint or store-bought if you’re like the rest of us) and toss through the sauce and other ingredients.
1½ red capsicums, deseeded, cut into large chunks
¼ cup cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1 tbsp sun-dried tomato slices in oil
600g packet beef ravioli
125g can corn kernels, drained
1 punnet cherry
TO SERVE (all optional, to suit different family members) basil leaves, olives, toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat grill to high. Pop the capsicum under the grill skin-side up and leave until black and charred. Don’t be shy about it – the blacker the skin, the more easily it will peel off. Remove and cover with a tea towel for 10 minutes, then peel skin off and discard.
Chop capsicum flesh roughly and place in a stick blender. Blitz until smooth. Add cottage cheese and sun-dried tomato and blend until smooth.
Cook pasta according to packet directions, then drain and return to the saucepan. Poor the sauce and vegies on top and toss to combine. Scatter with basil.
SERVES 2 ADULTS & 2 KIDS