Pasta with Hidden Vegetables


This is a great way to get children to eat vegetables because they are blended into the sauce to make them invisible, and what they can't see, they can't pick out. For a creamier version, you can stir in a little mascarpone (an Italian cream cheese).

For children ages: 9-12 months

Cook Time: 24min
Ready In: 24min
Yield: 4 portions (this recipe is suitable for freezing)


  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and chopped
  • 3/4 cup wiped and chopped button mushrooms
  • 3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, *see Ingredient Tip below
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock, see below
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon torn fresh basil leaves
  • freshly gound black pepper
  • 6 ounces pasta shapes
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon mascarpone cheese, optional


Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and sauté for 2 minutes, followed by mushrooms, sautéing for 2 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and the butter and sauté for 2 minutes. Pour in the can of tomatoes and half the juice. Finally, add the stock, sugar, and basil, and season with pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, then blend to a puree.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until tender, but without adding salt.

Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and mascarpone (if using).

Ingredient Tip

Peeling tomatoes and peaches/nectarines: Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Transfer to cold water, then peel, seed, and chop. For peaches/nectarines, score a cross on the base of each fruit, then submerge in boiling water for 1 minute. Peel, cut in half, discarding the pit, and chop the flesh.

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