recipe: pancetta spaghetti
So, I would love to say that I ran today. That I covered a great distance, like 10 miles. I’d love to say that because of running all those miles, I treated myself to a good dinner to “refuel”.
Running didn’t happen today.
Know what I did? Went to church to serve on our welcome team, ate lunch with my husband, took a nap, went to the grocery store and read a book. No running whatsoever. I did hold the door open at church so people could walk through. Does that count as exercise? (I think so.)
Run or not, I still made a pretty delicious dinner, if I may say so myself. And quite simple, at that. I found this recipe for pancetta spaghetti in a book that I borrowed called The Athlete’s Palate Cookbook: Renowned Chefs, Delicious Dishes, and the Art of Fueling Up While Eating Well. The whole cookbook has recipes for everything – breakfast, lunch, dinner. And the chefs who came up with the recipes are all athletes in their own right in a sport close to my own heart – running. I’m excited to dive into this cookbook and cook some healthy dishes that will aid in my running (training and recovery) as well as feed our stomachs. This particular recipe is by Gordon Ramsay, known for his show “Hell’s Kitchen”. According to The Athlete’s Palate, Ramsay is “one of only a few British chefs to be awarded three stars by the prestigious Michelin Guide.” Also, “a few nights a week he runs 10 miles home from his London restaurant, wearing a weighted backpack. A regular at the London Marathon (with a PR of 3:35), Ramsay has finished South Africa’s 54-mile Comrades ultramarathon three times.” Sheesh! He can cook AND run.
Now, I don’t think I would recommend eating pancetta spaghetti every day (hello?! pancetta!) but I wouldn’t mind eating it every week. Hehe. Okay, every other week! The Athlete’s Palate also notes that this dish is great for training; the “garlic improves circulation by dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow. It also reduces the inflammation that can come with joint pain and is a good source of vitamin C.”
Hmmmm. Garlic for vitamin C? I think I’ll just drink orange juice, thankyouverymuch.
Anyways, after I went to the grocery store, I started reading a book and completely forgot that I needed to infuse olive oil with garlic, for one hour. Whoops. So, the recipe below has some changes. Pretty normal with me. Hope you enjoy it!
Pancetta Spaghetti (adapted from The Athlete’s Palate)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1/2 a regular box of whole wheat spaghetti (the original recipe says 8 oz but I don’t have a kitchen scale so I eye-balled it)
- 3 oz finely diced pancetta (bought pre-packaged)
- 1 cup loosely packed baby spinach leaves
- 1-2 tbsp chopped smoked sun-dried tomatoes
- freshly grated parmesan
- red pepper flakes
1. To make the garlic oil, put olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan, “cook” over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat when the oil starts to shimmer and you can see little bubbles start forming around the garlic pieces. Set aside and let the garlic infuse for 20-25 minutes (should be an hour, but I was pressed for time). *Remove the garlic from the oil.
2. Cook the pasta according to directions on box. Drain and set aside cooked pasta in a large bowl.
3. Using a small pan, heat 2 tbsp of garlic oil and fry pancetta pieces until done, for about 4-5 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds then remove from heat.
4. Pour pancetta-oil-tomato mixture into pasta bowl, add spinach leaves and mix well, taking care to coat the pasta with the oil and evenly distributing the pancetta. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, if you like.
*If you’re like my husband and LOVE garlic, toss the discarded garlic pieces into your pasta. Then you’re guaranteed that you won’t become a victim of vampirism. Too much garlic in your system.