Getting children to eat and enjoy vegetables is quite the challenge. With Grace my tactic thus far has been to add serious flavour to her blanched vegetables and my weapon of choice of late has been pesto. I keep jars of basil, pea and sundried tomato pesto nestled in my fridge, happily waiting to be poured of vegetables and pasta. I also love using this wonderfully fragrant, zesty and delicious Italian sauce as a salad dressing or spread over grilled chicken breasts.
With the addition of pesto, in this case basil, Grace gobbled up her broccoli and beans with complete enthusiasm blissfully unaware of the fantastic vitamins, minerals and nutritional benefits that make mum oh so happy!
Not only does this recipe make me happy because of its beautiful ability to get the kiddies munching down greens, but it’s a dish that can be on the table in less than 15 minutes making it a fantastic dinner or quick and easy lunch. The recipe begins with a large pot of water being brought to the boil to which pasta is added (in my case rollini but please feel free to use your favourite pasta type), a couple of minutes later I added the broccoli and beans and cooked until the pasta was aldente and the greens were just cooked, around 5 minutes.
I then drained the pasta and vege and placed back into the saucepan along with a generous dollop of wonderfully green and fragrant basil pesto that I mixed through until combined. The hot pasta quickly drank up all the pesto and smelled incredible. I then added a couple of torn bocconcini balls and a good handful of shaved parmesan. Done.
Grace’s lunch box today includes a big helping of the pesto rollini with broccoli and beans, a little piece of banana bread and her favourite yoghurt adorned with blueberries and passion fruit. Rather than buying fruit yoghurt I opt for the plain variety and add my own fruit, lately Graces favourites are blueberries and raspberries, I find Grace enjoys the variety and I much prefer to control the sweetness of the yoghurt.
Pesto rollini with broccoli trees and beans
500gm short pasta, fussili/penne/rollini
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
a big handful of beans, topped and tailed
3 tbs basil pesto (you may need a little more depending on how thirsty your pasta is)
2 bocconcini balls, torn into small pieces
½ cup parmesan, shaved
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes, add broccoli and beans and cook until pasta is aldente. Drain and return to the saucepan. Add pesto, bocconcini and parmesan and stir to combine. Serve warm or cold. Great for the lunch box as a pasta salad.