Toward the end of my marathon training I start to run out of pasta ideas. For the last couple of weeks, I've been boring with my pre-run pasta dinners or I've been trying out some pasta restaurants around town. This Friday I was scouring my brain, trying to figure out what to eat before my last 20-mile run of this training season. I started checking out some runner websites and was immediately bombarded with conflicting information what what to eat pre-run. Eat carbs! Only certain carbs! Eat carbs for the entire week before! Pasta is best! No - potatoes! No - SWEET potatoes! Don't eat veggies! I felt like those commercials for internet information overload. Then my coworker gave me great advice: just stick to what you know works. I've been doing this for nearly four years and I've never had a problem with a standard pasta dinner. Something simple, something tasty, and I'm ready to run. I did take away a few key points from the websites, which warned that certain foods may irritate your stomach. So avoid dishes high in cream or dairy, excessively spicy foods, and anything with a ton of fiber because that can cause cramping. Noted!
In my search for a new pasta dish, I kept coming across amazing-sounding dinners that were filled with heavy cream and had "five cheeses" in the title. Instead of getting discouraged, I switched my focus. In my adult years I've grown to like pasta with a hearty amount of tomato sauce. So I found a super simple recipe for tomato sauce on the Cooks Illustrated website. I clicked "print" and was ready to rock.
This tomato sauce is very quick and very easy to make. It uses a lot of staple pantry items and canned tomatoes, which cuts down on a lot of the time. I switched around the recipe a bit, using crushed tomatoes instead of diced, doubling the amount of garlic and basil, and adding in a quick splash of red wine. Overall though, it was a tasty sauce filled with sweet, tomato flavor. Is it the most amazing sauce I've ever had? Probably not. But given a choice between this super simple sauce and buying a jar of sauce from the grocery store, I'll take this any day!
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
3 tbls olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp water
Splash of red wine (optional)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp sugar
Big handful of fresh basil, chopped
Push the garlic through a garlic press into a small bowl and add in the 1 tsp of water. Heat a 10-inch pan over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and garlic. Saute until the garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the mixture has reduced. Midway through, add a splash of red wine.
Once the tomato mixture has reduced, add the salt, pepper, sugar, and basil. Stir consistently for one minute. Serve over pasta and top with a light sprinkle of cheese.
This recipe will make enough sauce for 3-4 servings of pasta.
......now, what the heck am I going to eat the night before the marathon?!?!