The sight of Clementine tackling spaghetti was one of the funniest I’ve seen for a while. There was definitely a little bit of Lady and the Tramp channelling going on in our dining room this evening.
Spaghetti Bolognese is one of those family classics – the sort that everyone has their own recipe for. My husband’s involves at least 50 ingredients, 2 hours in the kitchen and every pan we own. Mine, especially this simplified baby- (and tired mummy-) friendly version, is rather more pared down.
Quick and easy Spaghetti Bolognese
serves 2 adults and 1 baby, with loads left over for cottage pie
- 500g lean beef mince
- 2 small onions
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 3 medium sized carrots
- 1 courgette
- a tin of chopped tomatoes
- olive oil
- mixed herbs
- grated cheddar / parmesan
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan (if you’re using lean/extra lean meat – I do simply because I’m too lazy to drain off any fat). Peel & chop the onions, and fry until they are starting to soften.
- Add the beef mince and the garlic (crushed or finely chopped).
- Chop the carrots into pieces appropriate for your baby (I did large-ish disks – you could cut them into batons for finger food or smaller cubes if you’re planning to purée). Boil or steam the carrots for around 5 minutes to soften them (they’ll finish cooking once added to the mince). Chop the courgettes. (Obviously you could add more/different veggies – whatever you’ve got in that needs using up. I often add peppers, for example).
- Once the mince is browned all over, put the spaghetti on to cook. Add the tinned tomatoes, carrots, courgettes and mixed herbs to the mince and stir regularly, keeping it simmering until the spaghetti is cooked. You could always add half a tin of tomatoes and make up the liquid with stock (homemade / low salt / baby stock to keep it baby-friendly) if you prefer a meatier taste.
- You’re done! Serve and grate a little cheese over the top if desired (and why wouldn’t you? I eat this meal purely for the grated cheese melting over the top…mmmm). Adults can add seasoning to their portions individually.
- The best thing?! You should have enough mince (around half) left over to cool, refrigerate and use as a cottage pie base in the next couple of days.
Clemmie ate hers as it came (and managed fine) but when we were just starting out I used a hand blender to blend the mince to a smoother texture (making it as coarse or smooth as your baby can cope with) and served it with baby pasta rather than spaghetti, then spoon fed it.
Quick and easy Spaghetti Bolognese – the ratings
From nothing to table – 20 minutes – 4/5
Ease of preparing/cooking – 4/5
Clementine approval – 3/5 (she tackled the spaghetti with gusto, showing less interest in the mince, but had a good go at all of it).
Clean up time – 5 mins – 2/5 (it’s the hidden mess that bumps this time up – we thought Clementine had eaten pretty much all her spaghetti until we took her out of her highchair and saw her very fetching Hawaiian style spaghetti skirt.)
Total score – 13/20 – a good solid score