Cooking with Toddlers: Handmade Pasta with Kale Pesto

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Fig has always been a pasta addict. In fact, pasta is a frequently used vegetable vehicle in our house. I’ve come up with some pretty creative ( lets use that term loosely) pasta sauces in an attempt to get the little guy to eat his vegetables. Some of them were wash your mouth out with soap bad and other dishes were pretty darn good. No matter if the dish is horrible or amazing, if it’s noddles, Fig will eat it. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could put dirt puree on top of noodles and they’d be gone in 15 seconds.

We live 20 minutes away from ‘little italy” and one of our favorite things to do is grab some fresh handmade pasta from an awesome little shop. The noodles cost like a million dollars but they taste aaaaamazzzing.

So after spending the kids college fund on noodles I had the bright idea of making them myself. Since noodle making involves dough I knew little Fig would be game for a lazy sunday of handmade noodle making.

Noodle making is an awesome and super easy recipe to involve toddlers in. (It goes without saying that a mess of apocalyptic proportions will be left in the noodle making wake but I think the fun and deliciousness of making the noodles counteracts the grim post-cooking scene.)First of all there is kneading the dough, then the dough must be rolled, and then the dough must be cut into tiny little pieces. All three of these activities are perfect for a two year old since so much sensory and fine motor skills are involved.

Even if you don’t want to so thoroughly involve a little person in pasta making you could always make some extra dough, give them a rolling pin, and have them “make pasta” next to you. I know I’ll be doing this next time pasta is on our menu!

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Pasta Dough

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Eggs
    • The pasta making rule is 2 eggs for every 1 cup of flour.
    • We used 6 eggs and three cups of flour to make about 5 servings plus extra for Fig to play with.

Kale Pesto.

  • 2 cups of packed kale leaves
  • 2/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • Juice from 1/2 a small lemon
  • salt to taste if needed

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Directions for pasta noodles:

  • Combine flour and eggs in a mixing bowl.
  • Knead well.
  • Let sit for a bit ( 20-30 minutes)
  • Sprinkle flour on a surface and with a rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as possible since the pasta puffs up when cooked
  • Using a sharp knife, cut into thin strips and set aside.
  • When ready, place pasta noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes ( it cooks fast!).

Directions for Kale Pesto:

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until fully blended.
  • Serve on pasta.

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