This recipe is taken from River Cottage Baby &Toddler Cookbook. Purple sprouting broccoli is a seasonal treat, available from late Feb to early May. The slender stems are delicious lightly cooked on their own (and very good finger food), but also excellent with pasta. This recipe works well with standard broccoli (calabrese) too. For babies: Go easy on the chilli or leave it out. As with many dishes, this works best for babies if you either keep the pieces really small and spoonable (use tiny pasta shapes and chop the broccoli finely), or if you keep them big and grabbable.
250g pasta shapes of your choice
3 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil 1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1⁄2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional) About 250g purple sprouting broccoli
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt (optional) Freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese, to serve
PUT a large pan of water on to boil. When it comes to the boil, add the pasta shapes. Cook for the time recommended on the packet (probably 10–12 minutes), giving it a good stir from time to time.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and chilli if using, and reduce the heat a little. Sweat them gently, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until soft but not browned.
Trim the broccoli (the stems can be woody at the ends). Cut the tops into small florets and the tender stems into small pieces. Make sure you keep the lovely, tender little leaves on the stem too. When the pasta is about 5 minutes off the end of its cooking time, add the broccoli to it.
Once the pasta and broccoli are cooked, drain well. Add the fried onion, garlic and chilli mixture and toss together well. Season if you like, then serve, with grated cheese.