Monday, October 17, 2005

Before the Diet

Curses, the Raisinhater diet started today, and all was sadness and misery in the household. But I think it will be easier to run 26.2 miles without those 2.5 extra pounds I am carrying on the midsection. Its actually a lot – imagine running a marathon carrying a hardcover book duct taped to your stomach. Ugh.

But not today! Today, instead of starting the week by whining about my calorie deficient lunch, I’m going to show you what J and I ate before our run. (HA! You thought we ran 18 miles fueled only by Shackburgers and cheese fries??)

The night before a long run, it is essential for me to scarf down as many carbohydrates as possible. I am the anti-Atkins. Most people suggest eating something bland so you don’t anger the stomach, but the thought of a plain bagel or spaghetti with bleh sauce is just too sad for me to bear, especially when I’m spending the entire weekend avoiding all non-food vice just so I can torture myself for well over 3 hours on Sunday morning. For me, a little spice, and a little cheese, is essential.

I'm normally not a fan of baked pasta, but this was quite tasty. The pasta wasn't really baked so much as broiled to melt the cheese on top. I based it on this recipe, here’s my version. Please note that amounts were dictated by two factors 1.) the size of my pyrex dish (see photo) and 2.) the fact that I was trying to make three servings (I miscalculated, the recipe using my amounts actually made at least four servings, but the leftovers are pretty tasty).

¾ lb of penne (I don’t like rigatoni)
¾ batch of Dad’s Marinara Sauce (you could use jar sauce to save time, but next time, make a double batch of marinara and freeze half)
¾ of medium size ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced (see photo for amounts & sizes)
½ lb of hot sausage (casings removed)
¼ cup (at least, I’m sure I used more) Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta water and cook pasta. While pasta is cooking, break sausage into bits and cook completely. I cooked on medium high because I wanted to brown the sausage a bit. Drain the pasta and add your sauce and the cooked sausage.

Stir well and dump into a big flat baking dish. The original recipe called for many little dishes, but that sounded like a monstrous pain in the ass so I used one big dish. Cover with mozzarella.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and put under broiler until cheese is brown and bubbly. Note that if you have one of those underneath broilers, like I do, you must lay on the kitchen floor so that you can keep a close eye on the cheese. Take it out too early and you will have sad, cold, un-melty cheese. Too late and you’ll have a kitchen fire. Remove when it looks brown and delicious.

Serve as soon as possible, with extra parmesan on the side.


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