There are two certainties in our household:

  1. Mommy (that would be me, 7am-7pm) will have a glass of wine in her hand when the clock strikes six
  2. Parker’s 12 sq inches of refrigerator space will always boast at least two different kinds of ‘Tot Pastas’ (nutritious enough for her, interesting enough for us)

Her orzo, rigatoni and ‘shells’ give us the opportunity (and the nooks and crannies) to stuff them/her full of veggies and cheese and good proteins that she might otherwise pick off her plate and sling at us or the iPad screen.

*If you’re not a parent, just stop here. This post will probably scare you away from having- and feeding- children. Stick to your bar crawls and carefree Caribbean escapes… I’m not jealous… at all…*

Yes, Parker Lee, the offspring of two obsessed foodies is just like every other kid– she craves/loves/demands pizza, chicken fingers hamburgers & french fries… and pasta. The staple of the Italian culinary gods is our only opening, the one loophole in the system that will allow us to get good food in her tiny body. 

We’ve plotted and tinkered and sautéed until finding combos that could work for everyone in the family. This orzo is chock-full of all those great greens that toddlers won’t eat otherwise. So make sure to chop the arugula and basil as finely as possible. Finish with strips of grilled chicken breast or shrimp.

Tot Pasta: Orzo w. Olives & Greens
Recipe type: easy pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1 lb orzo
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped kalamata olives
  • ½ cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups Arugula, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and stir well. Let the pasta cook at a boil, stirring occasionally, until tender. When the pasta is cooked, drain completely and transfer to large bowl.
  2. Stir in the olive oil into the pasta and continue stirring every few minutes until the pasta is cooled.
  3. When the pasta is cool, add the olives, basil, arugula and cheese.
  4. *For a protein kick (and to avoid afternoon meltdowns), we finish the orzo by adding either grilled chicken or shrimp
This recipe may easily be halved.