Kid Tested, Toddler Approved: Easy Pasta Wheels Pesto with Sneaky Green Veggies!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ok, I have to admit here that my kids actually eat their veggies, especially Little Girl. I actually have trouble giving her meat, believe it or not! Little Boy is a lot harder to get to eat the veggies, so when I can sneak them in, I've hit a mommy home run. Easty pesto (get recipe here) brings this dish together in miliseconds. I like keeping the green theme so I use a combination of frozen peas, asparagus (frozen or any leftover from night before is great), and broccoli for this. The kids gobble it all up in seconds flat and I feel good that they got a big dose of their veggies.

When cooking for kids, I like to use fun pasta shapes like mini-wheels shown here, or mini bow ties or corkscrews. Anything fun will help entice a picky eater! And a confession: they're fun as an adult to eat too!

Easy Pasta Pesto with Sneaky Green Veggies
1/2 lb mini pasta wheels (or your favorite pasta shape)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup asparagus (frozen, fresh or leftover), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup broccoli florets (frozen, fresh or leftover), roughly chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Easy Walnut Pesto
grated parmesan for garnish

Bring a pot of water to a roaring boil. Season the water with a good amount of salt, about 2 tablespoons. Add the pasta and frozen vegetables that you are using together in the same pot. Cook according to pasta directions, approximately 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta and accompanying vegetables and place in a large bowl for mixing or back in the pot (it's dirty anyway, right?). Add any fresh vegetables using (if you used frozen peas, asparagus, and broccoli, then don't worry about this step) and pesto in desired amount. I usually use about 1/4 cup's worth give or take. Gently toss the pasta and vegetables in the pesto sauce. Place in bowls and garnish with some grated parmesan cheese.

My Notes:
You can cook the frozen vegetables together with the pasta. It's all going to be mixed together eventually anyway, so why bother dirtying another pot for veggies? If you're using a mix of frozen and fresh or leftover veggies, just add the frozen ones with the pasta and toss the fresh ones later along with the pesto.

For adventurous eaters (or adults) you can add some sun-dried tomatoes and cut up fresh mozarella cheese. Want some protein? Add cooked chicken for a classic dish or serve grilled chicken or fish as the main and the pasta dish as a side.

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