I love any dish that all the family will enjoy however when I first made this risotto I expected Millie to be the only taker, but to my delight the boys also really enjoyed it. This is a recipe I submitted for Easy Parenting as a baby meal but if you haven't a baby in the house you could still try this out. It makes a lovely addition to many different meats but is equally delicious on its own.
As a young baby's palate becomes use to the smooth texture of a fruit or vegetable puree sometimes the introduction of lumpier foods can prove a little tricky. It is natural for your baby to spit out the lump or even sometimes gag in the quest to rid their mouth of what they think is a foreign body. I must admit that I was very nervous when it came to introducing lumpier meals and finger foods to my first boy. It always seemed to evoke gagging which not only turned my little man off lumps but also resulted in me being a nervous wreck at mealtimes. However with some persistence I slowly introduced textures into his meals and soon he began to enjoy this new cuisine. With my other children the transition from purees to lumps didn't seem to take as long. Most children develop at different paces and it's always imperative to give them a chance to progress at their own rate. Given some time your baby will begin to control the lumps of food in their mouth and in turn they will learn how to swallow them. It is important to introduce your baby to textured dishes at an early stage, around 9 mths, as it is paramount for the development of their oral skills and also important in the building of muscle tone.
It can be quite labour intensive to cook meals that will suit the babies, children and adults in a house so with this in mind a recipe that suits all is invaluable to the family cook. Risotto is one dish that my whole family enjoy. The risotto is perfect for the baby/toddler, aged 9-12mths, as all of the vegetables are finely chopped and for the older children it makes a perfect accompanient to some roast chicken or a few good quality sausages. Feel free to experiment with this recipe including whatever vegetables are in season.
|Millie enjoying a bowl of Risotto.|
Nessa's Family Risotto
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1 small courgette, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes, chopped
225g (8oz) risotto rice, such as Arborio. (Can also use long grain)
1 litre (2 pints) diluted hot vegetable or chicken stock
50g grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
1. Saute the onion, pepper, courgette and carrot in the olive oil for 5-6 minutes, until soft.
2. Add the garlic and rice and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes.
3. Slowly add the hot stock and simmer for 20-25 mins until the rice is tender. Adding a little more stock or water if necessary.
4. When the rice is just cooked and tender, add the Parmesan and leave to stand, covered for a minute.
5. When serving grate over a little extra Parmesan.
This article and recipe was published in the Oct/Nov issue of Easy Parenting.
Details are here if you would like to come to one of my demos later this month.