Goal set. Goal achieved. Mission accomplished. I have no idea what possessed me to think I could run 13.1 miles. But last week I actually did it! And when I finished, the only thing I wanted was to eat a big bowl of pasta loaded with all of my favorites. I call it my everything but the kitchen sink Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Cream and Bacon. But there’s really much more to it than that.
For some people running a half marathon is like a walk in the park. For others, just the thought of running around the block is enough to bring on night terrors. I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ve always considered myself a “runner.” But let me be clear – I use the term “runner” because it sounds so much better than “I’m a really slow jogger who rarely runs more than three miles.” But something got into me, and I came across a very succinct, very clear (very difficult) 8-week half marathon training program and thought why not? (Of course, now I can think of a million reasons why not, but those reasons evaded me at the time). So I tackled the program head on.
There were days I felt great, and there were days I thought I was crazy (like that time I had to run 8 miles up at the cabin at a 7,000 foot elevation in the 20 degree weather), there were days I wanted to quit, and there were even a couple of days I went on strike. But I persevered and slowly but surely my mileage and speed improved. I found myself thinking six miles was a “short” run, and I found myself (only momentarily) thinking I could actually push it and do a full marathon (not going to happen). I also found myself thinking about food. A lot! Pasta in particular.
I’m not sure what it is about pasta that just makes the world feel like a better place. Add rich cream, crispy bacon (a lot of it), tangy sun dried tomatoes, mellow shallots, some tender baby spinach, and a few other goodies and it’s like you died and went to heaven. I figured I deserved a little bit of heaven after running that final 13.1! (That, and an ice cold beer.) I still don’t know what stirred inside of me and motivated me to take on that 13.1 mile goal, but looking back, I’m proud and relieved I did it! I’ve earned my big bowl of Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes (and cream and bacon and shallots and spinach…. and that ice cold beer)!
P.S. I just came across this awesome micro perforated dishwasher safe stainless steel colander. I’m adding it to my wish list (perfect for all the pasta I make – even orzo won’t fall through the cracks!)
- 1 Pound Fusilli Pasta
- 1 Pound thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2" pieces
- 2 Large Shallots, Sliced
- 4 Ounces Sun Dried Tomatoes, Drained
- 1 4 ounce can Sliced Black Olives
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Cup chicken broth
- 4 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- Cook pasta in heavily salted water to al dente according to package directions. Drain and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and set aside.
- Using the same pot as you did for the pasta (so you only have to wash one pot!), cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp (approximately 5-7 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add shallots to the remaining bacon grease and cook until soft. Add sun dried tomatoes, olives, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and bring to a low simmer. Add spinach and stir until well coated. Cover and let the spinach wilt for a couple of minutes. Stir thoroughly. Add cream and heat through for a couple more minutes. Add cooked pasta and bacon and stir until combined and heated through (2 more minutes). Serve in large bowls and dig in!