Toddler Tomato & Cream Cheese Pasta

Sprout, my middle child, kind of showing how it is done 6.5 years ago!

Thankfully it was years ago that I was battling to get my eldest daughter to put on weight, having been told that her brain development could be suffering.  Armed with a brief advice note from the hospital on adding calories to a child’s food,  I scoured the supermarket shelves and my brain for full fat calorific foods.

This rich tomatoey and cream cheese all in one dish with tiny pasta shapes mixed in became known as ‘Tomato Pasta’.  I would freeze the quantity below in cream cheese tubs which made about five individual portions, although I’d be lucky if my eldest then aged 5 would eat all of it.  Today, however,  I stirred half of it through a pack of gnocchi for my now three pretty good eaters.

100g tiny pasta shapes (stars, shells)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tin organic tomatoes
1 200g pack of organic cream cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the packet’s instructions.  Check just before turning off the heat that the pasta is soft enough to squash against the roof of your mouth with your tongue, or ‘fondante’ (melting) as my French packet of pasta used to say.  You don’t want to challenge fussy eaters with any tricky chewing!  When cooked, drain and cool in a colander under running cold water.  This stops it sticking.

While the pasta cooks, gently cook the onion and garlic in a saucepan with the olive oil.  When it turns translucent or starts to brown add the tomatoes, sugar if using (tinned tomatoes can be a bit acidic but I don’t bother to add sugar nowadays) and simmer gently uncovered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  Then melt in the cream cheese and blitz carefully with a stick blender.  Mix in the cooked pasta.  If you want to add extra calories you could always encourage the little darlings to add a sprinkling of grated cheese.

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