Sunday, July 10, 2011

Training Season! Or lots and lots of pasta....

I seem to have issues.  About four years ago I went from hating all things related to running and being spent after a 1-mile run, to training for marathons.  Seriously, it was like an overnight transition.  I watched my dad, my sister, and my brother run the Twin Cities Marathon one year and it was like a light flipped on in my head: if those fools can do it, I certainly can too.  Now I've started the training season for my fourth Twin Cities Marathon.  I told you...I have issues. 

But as soon as you integrate running into your life, pounds of pasta inevitably follow.  From June through September, I eat a pasta dinner nearly every Friday night in order to carb up for my Saturday long run.  It might even be that you're supposed to carbo load two nights before your long run, but it is safe to say that THIS is always a bad idea:

After three training seasons of subsisting mostly on noodles with olive oil and garlic salt (which is still one of my favorite dinners!), I decided that I need to branch out.  I need to find some easy, healthy pasta recipes to get me through this summer!  If you happen to be training for a summer run, then you might also be interested in some new pasta dishes.  If you just happen to enjoy eating a lot of noodles (who doesn't?), then hopefully you'll find something great to add into your repertoire.  I plan to add some great pasta dishes to this blog over the course of my training season.  So enjoy part one -- a classic dish of pasta al pomodoro. 

4 roma tomatoes, peeled* and seeded, and cut into large pieces
3 cloves garlic
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1/2 angel hair pasta (or any other long noodle you have on hand)
2 tbls freshly chopped basil

In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil under medium low heat.  Add in the garlic and saute for a minute or so.  Add your tomatoes and reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally. 

Bring a pot of water to a boil and throw in a small handful of salt.  Add your noodles and cook according to the directions.  Once the pasta is finished, your tomatoes should have broken down and the olive oil should be a rich color.  Oh, it'll smell amazing. 

Using tongs, take the pasta out of the water and transfer it into the skillet/dutch oven.  Don't drain the pasta!  Putting in wet pasta allows you to keep some of the starchy cooking liquid.  It'll help create a creamy quality to your tomato "sauce".  Probably not authentic, but it's still good! 

Top your pasta with freshly grated pepper and a sprinkling of basil.  Feel free to add some grated cheese if you like.  Even a small squeeze of lemon would be good to add a bit of brightness. 

Enjoy this tasty, classic dish!  Happy trails! 

*Quick Tip: Peeling the tomatoes is completely optional.  With roma tomatoes, I don't like the skins.  If you used other varieties, such as heirlooms, the skins will break down along with the tomato flesh.  To peel a tomato, bring a pot of water to a boil and add in your tomatoes.  Let them boil for 1 minute and remove.  The skins will peel right off with a knife!  Then chop and seed as usual.

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