This is perhaps the recipe that has saved my sanity when it comes to getting my children to eat vegetables. There is no chance that mixing chopped vegetables in with pasta will work. Have you ever watched an 18-month-old picking every last piece of vegetable off of a single piece of pasta before eating it? Well I have, and it's painful to watch. We did go through a period with R when he wouldn't eat sauce and so this didn't work but thankfully we're over that stage now and baby R either has skipped it or hasn't hit it yet (keeps fingers crossed it's the former). What I like about this sauce is that you can add pretty much anything - although I tend to stick with yellow, red and orange vegetables because green bits cause a drama at the dinner table in this house - and you can use it with many different things. Most commonly it's been used as a pasta sauce (and although it pains me to say it Bob the Builder pasta is worth every single last penny), but we often mix in sausages or use it as a pizza topping instead of normal tomato sauce.
Here's a basic recipe but it really is up to you what you add in.
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, finely chopped
2 small carrots, grated, or chopped and steamed
dried oregano or mixed herbs
a teaspoon or so balsamic vinegar,
splash lemon juice,
splash 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onion over a medium heat. Don't let it get too brown. When soft, add the garlic. Cook for one more minute, stirring well before adding the pepper. When this starts to soften add the carrots. I used to grate them and add them in raw at this stage but I've recently been steaming them as it's easier to blend them into the sauce this way. Cook for a further few minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. Stir well and add a little water if it seems too thick. Let the sauce bubble away for a few minutes before turning the heat down and cooking gently until all the vegetables are soft. Purée into a smooth sauce.
I've been experimenting recently with leaving the sauce a little lumpier - even occasionally with the odd bit of chopped veg in it and it seems to be going down ok. For now...