July 26, 2008

Rachel's Perfect Pre-Race Meal

I know, I know. I went on and on about being on a health kick in my last post, and here I am showing you a recipe for a very unhealthy dish. But let me explain - see, tomorrow I will be, on my own free will, running 13.1 miles. Yes, these are the kinds of things crazy people like me, i.e. runners, do for fun. Tomorrow is the NYC Half-Marathon, which is by far my favorite race of the year. It starts with a lap around Central Park, heads right through Times Square, sends you down the blessedly flat West Side Highway, then ends all the way downtown in Battery Park. An amazing race to run for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

I've been running for over 10 years now, and continue to start nearly every morning with it. It got me through the stresses of college (and helped to work off some of those late night eating sessions), provided moments of solace in trying times, and has given me the opportunity to explore an unfamiliar and intimidating city. There's something oddly comforting in knowing that, in a city as big as New York, I can always count on seeing the same faces at 6 am doing a loop in the Park.

A large number of my friends are runners as well. One in particular, J, has been my long run buddy for a few years now. Where I generally like shorter, faster races, J prefers the steady, longer runs. So I always feed off her for inspiration and to ensure my butt is out of bed and on the road early Saturday mornings. Last year I deserted her for the NYC Half since I had a wedding to go to. This year, it's my turn to suffer it out alone as she has an important family function. So, this pasta dish is my way of pouting about having to toe the line alone. No healthiness here - just good ol' carbo loading.

Onto this yummy, yummy plate of pasta goodness. Right when I saw Rachel making this I knew I had to try it myself. She deemed this a "lasagna-bowl," or an easy way of making a fairly complicated dish in minimal time. I mean everyone loves the whole cheese-pasta-sauce combo going on in lasagna, so recreating it in a 30-minute time frame just seemed genius. And let me tell you - it is. The meat sauce has an awesome flavor from the pancetta, beef broth and wine, and the cheese sauce has just enough flavor to combat any kind of dairy craving without being ridiculously heavy. The only variations I made from her recipe were to use all ground beef instead of the beef, pork, veal mix (if only FreshDirect would let me buy in smaller quantities...) and I used Conchiglie pasta instead of Campanelle. Conchiglie was just what I had on hand, but I thought it was awesome in this dish - the sauce really stuck to it and the big bites made it seem just that much more decadent.

Trust me - this dish is worth the 13.1 miles! Good-luck to anyone running tomorrow (in a race or not)!

Please visit the link below for the recipe:

Rachel's Two Sauce Weeknight Lasagna Bowl
Adapted from 30 Minute Meals - Rachel Ray


Bitten Sweets said...

this looks great--i'll have to try it. my husband loves a big, hearty lasagna and will thank you for it. hope the race was a success!

Culinarywannabe said...

Hope he enjoys it! The race was just great - thank the lord for overcast mornings!

TAG said...

I'm sure going to try this!

Culinarywannabe said...

Please do - I think it's a keeper!