Wednesdays are my midweek break from the paid job and the day I spend with my dearest, taking her to music class, playdates and preparing some food for the remainder of the week. This week I made another batch of Miss One’s favourite meals – risotto. I have made a number of variations but this one is purposely packed with a good variety and large proportion of vegetables to make up for Miss One no longer eating veggie purées.
If you are freaking out because of the reputation that risotto has of being a very challenging dish – do not worry! Bubs like their rice a little mushy so you can dispel the fear of overcooking it! I just call it particularly creamy :).
I always make a sizeable batch so that I can freeze about 5 meals and have one fresh on the night. It is a versatile base to add protein to or just as a vegetarian meal – a good serve of filling carbohydrates and multiple serves of vegetables in one. So for those busy weekdays when you are juggling a 9-5 job and baby care, it’s a great trusty meal that saves you from having a complete meltdown when you are already running late from work and definitely haven’t thought about dinner! I am all for guilt-free parenting so I love having nutritious backups for when I can’t dedicate the time.
Miss One has started to love peas (and often picks them out individually to eat) and so instead of smashing them like I have in the past, I am keeping them whole in today’s risotto. I call this dish “Veggie Patch Risotto” as it is colourful with the different types of vegetables — just how I imagine a veggie patch in a quaint cottage garden would look — pumpkin (orange), tomato (red), peas (green), zucchini (white/ green), onion (red). They say the more colourful the foods we eat are, the better they are for us so this should be super good for bubs!
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- ½ zucchini, diced very finely
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ¼ small butternut pumpkin, diced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1¾ cup water
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated finely
- 5 large leaves of basil, finely chopped
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
- Reduce to a low heat then add the rice and tomato and mix well to combine.
- Add the pumpkin and half of the water. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, gradually adding the remaining water as it is absorbed.
- Once the pumpkin starts to soften, add the peas and zucchini and continue stirring occasionally until rice is fully cooked and soft (approximately another 10 minutes). You may need to add more water if the rice dries out before it cooks through.
- Remove from the heat and stir through parmesan cheese while still warm. Finish by stirring through the basil and adding extra seasoning if desired (take care not to add too much salt for bub - the cheese provides most of the seasoning you need).