Over the last few years there has been a real demonisation of carbohydrates, but for many families cooking a plate of pasta is a staple meal – its cheap and quick and children love it. So I’ve found a compromise by adding lots of vegetables and nuts to the pasta and limiting it to once a week.
Ingredients 1 butternut squash peeled and diced (or frozen pre-chopped butternut squash) 5-6 cloves of garlic 100g pine nuts dry roasted 200g linguini Extra virgin olive oil 1 Lemon large handful parsley (frozen is fine) Feta cheese Juice of 1 lemon
1. Coat the butternut squash and cloves of garlic in oil, and roast at 180C until cooked and set aside. 2. Cook the linguini in salty water and olive oil. When cooked drain the water and add to the mixing bowl. 3. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and the chopped parsley 4. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Add chunks of feta cheese, butternut squash, garlic and add liberal amounts of extra virgin oil. Mix together. 6. Top with the roasted pine nuts.
This dish can be served hot or cold. For variety I sometimes cook it with a garlic flatbread and cut it up into tiny chunks and add to the pasta to change up the texture.
My top tips:
When children have been involved in the cooking process they are more likely to try it. This is a great dish to get them involved in making dinner. To prepare, cut a butternut squash into quarters and leave the skin on. Brush with a little oil and roast in the over. When cooked allowed to cool, and then get the kids involved. Give them a large spoon and ask them to scoop out the flesh. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it’s a lovely way for them to handle food in a fun way and way of introducing new vegetables into their diet. Don’t be disheartened if they don’t eat it, sometimes children need to be exposed to food up to 15 times before they like the taste.
Inspired by a fancy recipe, I often will end up buying lots of expensive fresh cut herbs, use them once and then end up wasting them. But I’ve found that finely chopping them, and freezing them in a storage bag, means that they are available whenever you need them, just remember to label the bag with the name of the herb and the date that you froze it.