As athletes we typically live very structured and disciplined lives. Early bedtime, healthy food, little alcohol, etc. For myself personally, the structure and discipline is all worth it when I arrive on the starting line of a race knowing I gave everything I had to my training.

But, that is not to say that there is not a place for a little indulgence to keep things interesting.

A recovery week left me with some additional time to spend in the kitchen over the last few days. Time that produced bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits, banana bread (to be sliced and frozen in individual bags for long ride fuel), lemon glazed pound cake (for Bachelor night with the girls), chicken tikka masala, butternut squash soup, and creamy pappardelle with leeks and bacon. I could write an entire post on my love of pappardelle, but I will spare you and just share the recipe instead.

Note: This recipe is not gluten, dairy, meat or fat-free. 

Pasta creaminess

Pasta creaminess

Recipe from, “7 Perfect Pastas.” Bon Appetit February 2013.

Six servings (or three between two hungry adults)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces (Whole Foods slab bacon works well)

2 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1 lb pappardelle

1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano (I didn’t have quite 1 cup)

Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5-8 minutes. Add leeks and season with salt. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often until leeks begin to brown, 5-8 minutes. Add cream, thyme, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 5-8 minutes.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups of cooking liquid. (I only ended up using 1 cup).

Add pasta, Parmesan and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce and stir to coat. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more liquid as needed until sauce coats pasta.

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