Carb-Loading for a Cause: Part 1

With the Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend just around the corner, many of us are nearing our final days of training and preparation. For most, this means carb-loading! According to Dr. Christopher D. Jensen, PhD, MPH, RD, carb-loading can increase your endurance by nearly 20 percent, extending your distance and reducing your time by 2-3 percent. So we scoured the Internet for the most delicious and nutrient-packed pasta recipes to keep you running longer and faster. (This is Part 1; we’ll post some more recipes tomorrow)

Bon Appétit!

Rocco’s Fettuccine Alfredo
by Rocco DiSpirito (Runner’s World, April 2010)

8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¾ cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¾ cup 5% Greek yogurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine; cook according to package directions. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook two minutes. Combine cornstarch and nutmeg in a small bowl; whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Pour into sauté pan, raise the heat, and bring sauce to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the cheese until melted. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in yogurt until smooth. Toss fettuccine with Alfredo sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Top pasta with remaining cheese. Serves four.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 336 | Carbs: 47g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 10g

Shrimp and Chorizo Paella
by Rocco DiSpirito (Runner’s World, April 2010)

2 ounces chorizo, halved lengthwise and sliced into ¼-inch-thick half-moons
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup long-grain brown rice
1 ¾ cups chicken broth, or more if needed
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
8 ounces medium peeled shrimp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup frozen peas

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook until the fat begins to render (about two minutes). Add garlic and sauté until fragrant (about one minute). Add saffron, rice, and broth. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes and juice. Cover pot, and continue to cook another 25 minutes. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Stir shrimp and peas into mixture, adding more broth if the rice appears dry. Cover, and continue to cook until shrimp are cooked through and rice is tender (about 10 or 15 minutes). Allow paella to rest for five minutes, covered. Fluff rice with a fork. Serves four.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 341 | Carbs: 47g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 8g

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Penne
by Pam Anderson (Runner’s World, September 2009)

12 ounces lean turkey Italian sausage links
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup pitted oil-cured olives, coarsely chopped
3 peeled garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
¾ teaspoon salt
12 ounces penne
8 cups broccoli rabe, coarsely chopped
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Bring sausage, oil, and ¼ cup water to simmer in a covered large pot over medium-high heat; cook until water evaporates. Uncover and fry sausage, turning until well browned. Remove sausage, cool slightly, and slice ½ -inch thick. Add olives, garlic, and pepper flakes to the empty pot. When garlic turns golden, stir in tomatoes and sausage. Simmer partially covered for 10 minutes. Add one quart of water and ¾ teaspoon salt to the sauce; bring to a boil.  Add penne and cook partially covered for 10 minutes. Add broccoli rabe; cook, partially covered, until pasta and broccoli rabe are tender, about five more minutes. Serve, topped with feta. Serves six.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 527 | Carbs: 60g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23g

Asparagus and Mushroom Rigatoni
by Joe Bastianich (Runner’s World, June 2009)

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¾ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
½ pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch spears
1 pound rigatoni pasta
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon zest
¼ cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, boil six quarts salted water. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add garlic. When it turns gold, add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté mushrooms until darkened, about five minutes. Add asparagus and toss gently to coat, sautéing a few minutes more. Add pasta to boiling water and cook 10 minutes. Turn heat under the saucepan to high and add a cup of pasta water. Cook until water reduces by half, about thirty seconds. Lift pasta from water with slotted spoon and add it to the skillet. Toss over high heat for one minute. Turn off heat and toss with parsley, lemon zest, and cheese. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Serves six.

Nutrition (per serving): 
Calories: 440 | Carbs: 65g | Protein 12g | Fat: 14g

Spinach and Feta Bowties
by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick (The Washington Post, January 4, 2012)

8 ounces dried bowtie pasta (farfalle)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
12 ounces baby spinach, rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped (fresh) dill
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
3 ounces (¾ cup) finely crumbled feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach: Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once or twice, so the garlic is soft but not browned. Add the spinach, in batches if necessary, to the pan. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the spinach wilts. Uncover and increase the heat as needed to cook off/evaporate any accumulated liquid in the sauté pan. Transfer the spinach mixture to a large bowl along with the drained bowties, the dill, lemon zest and feta cheese. Toss to incorporate, then season with pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition (per serving):  Calories: 320 | Carbs: 46g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 9g

Fettuccine Paolo
by Paul Raftis (Runner’s World, April 2008)

1 ⅓ cups red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
6 ounces fresh fettuccine
1 ⅓ cups chicken stock
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes*
½ cup marinated artichoke hearts with liquid
1 ½ cups (about ½ pound) grilled chicken, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
*Rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes before cooking. Put tomatoes in a bowl with one cup of warm water and soak for one hour, or until softened. Gently squeeze to remove excess liquid. Cut into thin slices.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pepper and cook three minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add stock and vinegar, bring to a boil, and simmer until reduced by half. Add sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and liquid, chicken, and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook fettuccine for two minutes, stirring periodically. Drain fettuccine, add to pasta sauce, and mix thoroughly. Top with Parmesan cheese. 

Serves two. 

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 580 | Fat: 17g | Carbs: 66g | Protein: 44g