It has been pouring and blowing a gale here in Sydney. It’s my midweek day off from paid work and I must say I am pretty happy (not to mention dry!) to be witnessing the buffeting behind glass rather than in the flesh as I had the two days before. However, our poor not-so-mini schnauzer Mozart is well and truly suffering cabin fever and being trapped indoors with a 15 month old is going to be trying too. Miss One has recently taken to walking but still prefers to have the security of a parental hand, so I am doing riveting rounds of our little 100 year old terrace most of the morning. I know I could escape by distracting her with toys, musical instruments and books (and heaven forbid, a bit of iPad “Animal Band” action) but I am mindful that my baby girl will only be this young once so when she is reaching out to be with me, I embrace and cherish her snuggling and nuzzling. So I have plenty of time to ponder life, food and other things while we sing “Wheels on the Bus” for the 31st time and walk around in circles.
I must confess that being a mum doesn’t always come naturally to me (or at least I don’t see myself as instinctively maternal, clucky, mother hen or however you would describe those women who are all that) but loving this little girl does. So while there are times I have to remind myself to relinquish the controlling/achieving side of myself and not worry that I am not getting anything done, I never regret the moments, the hours, the days when I am consciously present and engaged with this little person who is just a little pocket rocket of pure light, wonder and sweetness.
Relishing the day’s fate of toddling around with a little hand in mine, I knew I had to cook something with minimal preparation and cooking effort. Then I remembered — isn’t there all that hype about one pot meals, one pot recipes, one pot method, one pot this, one pot that ? …. Hmmm….actually one pot sounds like a great idea!
Now I am a visual person so thinking “one pot”, an image of dry spaghetti, meat balls, herbs and tomatoes all in a big stockpot on a Woollies recipe card comes to mind. That’s the inspiration for today’s creation. Pasta: yes! Bub likes pasta. So here is my stab at a one pot wonder!
So into a large corningware (you can use any baking ware with a lid), I threw half a box of fusilli, grated bowls of zucchini and pumpkin, chopped mushroom, a tin of diced tomatoes, tin of salmon (it is good to know that canned salmon retains all the nutritional benefits of fresh salmon while being more affordable and convenient!), and half a litre of milk. After mixing it all up, I baked it for 40 minutes at 175°C. Then I stirred in some bocconcini and parmesan cheese for stickiness and extra tastiness and baked it for a further 20 minutes (these cooking times are intentionally long to make the pasta extra soft for bubs so if you want it to be al dente, reduce the initial cooking time by 10-15minutes). And voila!
This is almost literally a hands-free recipe and the result was a tasty pasta dish full of essential nutrients for the dearest little person in our lives. It made quite a volume so I was able to freeze 5 serves.
Best of all, I can report that Miss One has happily demolished three meals in as many days and, as the texture is a little sticky, she found it easy to feed all of it to herself!
- 200g tinned pink salmon
- 1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
- 200g pumpkin, coarsely grated
- 100g fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
- 400g tin diced tomatoes
- 250g fusilli pasta
- 500ml milk
- 100g buffalo mozzarella (I used small bocconcini balls)
- 50g parmesan, grated
- Preheat the oven to 175°C.
- In a large oven proof container with lid, mix the salmon, vegetables and dry pasta.
- Thoroughly stir through the diced tomatoes (including juices) and milk. Place the lid on the container and bake for 40 minutes.
- Stir in the cheeses and bake for another 20 minutes (again with the lid on).