Spaghetti bolognese is a staple in our house – it’s quick and easy to cook, and everyone likes it. I normally use this recipe, which I have developed over the years by starting with a basic recipe and trying out different things to add to the flavour. The only problem is that it’s not the most suitable for Baby Led Weaning: it’s lower in salt and sugar than most shop-bought sauces, but still a little high for a baby; plus it would be extremely messy! This baby version combines the flavours of a bolognese with a finger-food format. It does use an extra pan, but takes minimal extra preparation.

Ingredients

Mixture of vegetables cut into fingers (carrots, courgettes, peppers, small broccoli florets, etc – whatever veg you’re putting in the rest of the family’s meal will probably work)
3 tbsp tomato juice, or 1 tsp tomato puree mixed with 3 tbsp boiling water
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp dried basil or oregano
3-4 pasta shapes (penne or fusilli work well – I use wholemeal)

Method

When boiling the spaghetti for the rest of the family, pop the pasta shapes in the pan along with it and boil until tender.
Meanwhile, put the veg in a small saucepan with the tomato juice (or puree and water), garlic and herbs. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer until tender, stirring occasionally. (The tomato juice should reduce down, but not boil dry – add a tiny bit of extra water if necessary.)
Mix in the cooked pasta shapes, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and allow to cool before serving.

I served this with a couple of fingers of cheese, and it seemed to go down very well with Darling Daughter!