Pasta with summer tomato sauce & courgettes (zucchinis)

Skinning and deseeding the tomatoes for this lovely fresh tomato sauce takes a little time, so it’s worth making a large quantity, as suggested and freezing the rest for other meals in smallish portions. Just add to cooked pasta, with perhaps a few peas or broccoli florets thrown in, maybe some diced cold chicken or a few tinned chickpeas, and a sprinkling of cheese.

For babies: If you use very small pasta shapes, this can be spooned. Or, to encourage your baby to feed themselves, deconstruct the dish: put pasta shapes, courgette sticks and a spoonful of sauce separately on their plate.

Makes: 3 adult servings, with plenty of sauce left over.

For the tomato sauce

About 1.5kg large, well-flavoured tomatoes

2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

and sea salt (optional)

To serve

250g pasta shapes

1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

250g courgettes, diced

A few basil leaves, shredded or chopped

1 ball of buffalo mozzarella

(about 125g), torn into

small pieces, or grated hard

cheese, to finish


To skin, the tomatoes for the sauce put them all in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 1–2 minutes, or until the skins can be peeled away easily.

Peel and quarter the tomatoes. Scoop out the seeds and juicy membranes into a sieve over a bowl and crush to extract the juice. Tear the tomato flesh roughly into pieces.

Heat the oil in a large, wide frying pan over a medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the tomato flesh and juice. Bring to the boil, then cook at a fairly brisk simmer, stirring and crushing often, for 15 minutes or until you have a thick, mushy sauce.

Transfer to a blender, add the sugar, and blitz until smooth.

Season if you like. Measure 250–300ml; freeze the rest.

When ready to serve, bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook until done to your liking; drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the courgettes for a few minutes until turning golden brown.

Add the tomato sauce and reheat. Toss into the pasta, with the basil. Stir through the mozzarella, if using. Or grated hard cheese over the pasta as you serve it.


This is an edited extract from River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Nikki Duffy published by Bloomsbury, Hardback RRP $29.99. Available at all good bookshops.