Pasta al pomodoro
This is a classic pre-marathon meal but it will fuel you up for any sport.
500g wholewheat pasta (any shape) 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion
2 celery sticks
2 medium carrots
2 cloves garlic, crushed
680g tomato passata
140g tomato puree
A bunch of fresh basil, oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano
Black pepper and grated parmesan cheese to serve
- Begin to cook the pasta as per packet directions.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables by cutting the onion into small chunks and dicing the celery and carrots. Heat a large saucepan to a medium temperature with the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots and begin to cook, stirring it now and then so that it does not overcook.
- When the onion starts to look soft after around 3 minutes, add the passata, tomato puree and stir through. Remove the basil leaves from the stalks and tear into strips. Add to the sauce and leave it to bubble on a low heat until the pasta is cooked.
- Pour the sauce into a serving dish, add the pasta and fold the two together. Top with black pepper and parmesan cheese and serve.
Variation: Try adding some chopped fresh mushrooms, spinach, greens or kale to the sauce.
Tagliatelle with potatoes and green beans (Pasta alla Ligure)
This Ligurian pasta dish is not only a great way to fuel up but as everything is cooked in the same pot, it is very simple to make.
350g small new potatoes, sliced into ½ cm slices
300g green beans, sliced lengthwise
500g wholewheat tagliatelle (or use fettuccine or spaghetti)
50g fresh basil (small stems and leaves)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
75ml extra virgin olive oil
30g toasted pine nuts
Grated parmesan cheese to serve
- Bring a large pot of water to boil while preparing the vegetables. When the water boils, add the potatoes and cook 4 minutes. Add the green beans to the potatoes and cook for another 4-5 minutes until everything is just done. Remove the veg from the pot and put aside (do not drain the water).
- Next add pasta to the same water and cook as per packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto.
- For the pesto, rinse the basil and place the stems and leaves in a food processor or bowl if you are using a hand blender. Add the whole garlic, olive oil and pine nuts and blend until smooth.
- Pour the pesto sauce into a large serving dish and add the cooked, drained pasta. Stir together until fully mixed (adding a little pasta water if needed). Fold in the cooked potato and green beans carefully and top with parmesan cheese to serve.
Super greens soup
Don’t forget to soak the split peas as per packet directions before attempting to cook with them.
4 red onions
1 tsp olive oil
750g split green peas (soaked for several hours or overnight)
1 vegetable stock cube
500g spring greens, roughly chopped
200g cavolo nero
Handful of fresh mint
Handful of fresh oregano
Coarsely ground black pepper to serve
- Preheat an oven to 190˚C and line a baking sheet with foil. Peel the onions and slice them in half. Drizzle the olive oil onto the foil and place the onions on it, cut side down. Roast for 35-40min until nicely cooked and beginning to brown and put aside. Once cool, slice the onion into bite-size pieces.
- Meanwhile, place the split peas in a large soup pot with 3 litres of water. Add the stock cube and heat the water until it boils. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 30min or until the peas are tender.
- Add the greens to the peas and stir through. Cut the cavolo nero in half so that you have a pile of tops and bottoms. Put aside the top halves. Roughly chop the bottoms and add to the peas. Cook for a further 8min until the vegetables are tender.
- Remove the soup from the heat and use a hand blender or food processor to blend it until smooth. If you prefer a thinner soup, add some water until it is the desired consistency. Return the soup to the heat again and slice the tops of the cavolo nero into bite-size pieces. Add to the soup and simmer for around 5 min until the cavolo nero is tender.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the rocket and fresh herbs. Stir in the onion and serve at once with a little black pepper and some chunky bread.
Pappa al pomodoro
This simple Italian country recipe for bread and tomato soup is a tasty way to use up any leftover stale bread you have around.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1.2 kg fresh or canned plum tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 litres vegetable stock
225g stale bread (the staler, the better)
½ tsp dried thyme
Bunch of fresh basil leaves to garnish (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat and add the garlic and sage. Cook while stirring until the garlic is softened but has not browned.
- Add the tomatoes and puree and stir together. Add the stock and stir until blended together. Tear the bread into smaller chunks and add to the pot. Stir through and add the thyme.
- Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 30 min, stirring occasionally. Serve with a couple of basil leaves to garnish each bowl.