Family dinner recipe no. 1: Simple summer pasta

Categories   recipes + food

It’s probably safe to say that most of us are perpetually on the hunt for something simple and tasty to feed our kids, that we as parents will enjoy eating too. We certainly are!

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

Family dinner is great, but during the week we definitely find it challenging to whip up something that appeals to an adult palate, that can also be made with little forethought or prep in under an hour. We thought we’d start a new series where we share some of our go-to recipes (recipe might be a stretch!) for simple family dinners. Naturally they’ll embrace the season too.

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

This time of year it’s all about bright summer produce, and even if your little ones aren’t so into eating their veggies, this simple recipe appeals to nearly everyone. And it goes nicely with a cold glass of rosé which means that mama and papa can enjoy a civilized meal too, even if it’s served at 5:30 pm.

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

This recipe is really less of a recipe and more of a preparation. You can interpret it how you like, adding more veggies if you’re inclined or subbing the butter for olive oil, or GF pasta for the real deal if you must.

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

Bonus points for having play food that corresponds to the recipe!

1-2 baskets of cherry tomatoes
~2-3 tbsp of butter per basket of tomatoes
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tub fresh mozzarella balls (kids love these!)
a few springs of basil, leaves thinly sliced
plus salt, pepper, and whatever pasta you like to eat

Start by sautéing heating the butter over medium heat in a heavy, flat-bottomed pan or skillet. Add the garlic as soon as the butter has melted and let it sizzle for a few minutes. (You can also use a mix of butter and olive oil.) Then dump in the cherry tomatoes, toss them around for a few minutes, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and walk away.

Meanwhile heat the water for pasta, and when it’s ready cook it how you like. Fusilli isn’t necessarily the perfect noodle for this dish, but the kids sure like them. While the tomatoes are cooking (you should check on them every now and again), slice the basil and grate some parmesan.

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

As the tomatoes cook, stir them around and smash them with the back of a wooden spoon so they become more like a sauce in the pan. You can add some salt and pepper to the mix too. Don’t forget to taste as you go!

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

When the tomatoes are ready, you’ll have a nice thick batch of slightly soupy, very tasty tomatoes. Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pan. Toss with a bit of olive oil, then dump in the cooked tomato mixture, the sliced basil, and the drained mozzarella balls. Plus a bit more salt and pepper to taste.

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

Dish into lovely pasta bowls, top with a bit more basil and some parmesan cheese, and pour yourself a glass of wine. We like to set out a little bowl of lightly cooked broccoli with olive oil and lemon zest to make sure the tiny people are getting at least a teensy bit of vegetable matter into their tummies too, but that’s certainly optional. Basil is green, right?

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

Perfect bite = tomato + basil + cheese.

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

Easy family dinner recipe: summer pasta | 100 Layer Cakelet

Really, truly the simplest meal. And so yummy for everyone seated at the table. Do share your favorite family meals with us! We’d love to hear some of your go-tos, and we promise to share a few more of our own too. Cin cin!

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Social Love

N malan on Jul 22, 2014

Love this! Post more things I can use my garden tomatoes and basil to make!!! Lol. I planted soooo many tomatoes!!!! I made almost this same thing last night but adde a little onion and oregano to the sauce and it was amazing!

Katie on Jul 22, 2014

Oh it's perfect! It is always hard finding meals in the summer months when it is sooooo hot outside. Fall and winter are easy because all your want is warm comfort food but you run out of salad ideas quick in the summer. Just love the simple ingredients and I bet it's perfect for leftovers the next day!

Jessie on Jul 22, 2014

Yay for this new series, thank you!

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