A Mothers Dilemma!
On the subject of food, how do we get our children to eat healthy whilst giving them the food they desire? One way is to camouflage the vegetables in their favorite soups or sauces. When my grandchildren come to dinner, mention pasta, sausages and beans in the same sentence and you know you are on to a winner. In Castlebar we are very fortunate to have our local butchers, meat is often sourced locally and prepared well. Many make their own sausages and cure their own bacon.
The recipe below is the basic ragu sauce for all Italian meat dishes, it consists only of vegetables and a cup of sauce per child added to their pasta will give them 2 portions of their daily requirements of vegetables. As this recipe is for a large amount of sauce any over can be put in containers and frozen ready for the next meal.
3 tablespoons of olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 large onions, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 sticks of celery, sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 red pepper, (optional, for a sweeter sauce) but a great source of vitamins
2 tablespoons of dried oregano (Italian herb, found in all supermarkets)
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons salt,
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tin tomato puree, 142 grams
Also for this recipe
1lb sausages or as many as needed for family
1 can cannelloni beans (in supermarkets)
Pasta (75 grams per person)
1 large heavy bottomed saucepan.
Heat oil and add the onions and sauté lightly for 5 mins, add garlic stir and cook for a further minute. Add celery and carrot, oregano and black pepper (if using red pepper, cut in 2 lengthways , remove stalk and seeds, flatten gently with palm of hand and put under a hot grill skin side up until it begins to blacken, set aside until it cools, remove skin and add to pan) stir and continue to sauté for a further 2 mins (add more oil if too dry). Next add the two tins of tomatoes and tomato puree and bay leaves. Fill the two empty tomato tins with cold water and empty into the pan, stir and simmer for 30 mins. Remove bay leaves and using a hand blender (invaluable in soup and sauce making) blend all ingredients until you have a smooth tomato sauce, taste and add more salt and pepper if needed, also a little water if necessary. No more kids trying to pick out bits of vegetables.
Whilst the sauce is simmering fry the sausages till half cooked and cut into bite size pieces and put into smaller saucepan along with cannelloni beans, add a cupful of the blended sauce per person to the smaller pan and simmer, cook pasta according to instructions on pack. Both should be ready in 10 to 15 mins, drain pasta and serve in bowls topped with the sausage and bean sauce, enjoy.