Pancetta Spaghetti for the Pre-"Race" Dinner

"The night before a marathon [or half, in our case] is about loading up on carbs, not making complicated dishes." This, according to Gordon Ramsay, spicy-tongued chef and long distance runner, who hopefully knows whereof he speaks. So I took his advice to heart and decided to take a very temporary one-evening diversion from my salad journey (although we did eat broccoli salad leftovers, which, incidentally, improve as time goes by) and prepare this simple, plain, five-ingredient pasta dish from Runner's World magazine on the eve of our half-marathon walk. I only hoped that it would actually perform a miracle and somehow provide enough nutritional oomph to compensate for our shortcomings in recent training walks. Neither Carole nor I believe we've put in enough time or effort for this particular event but she keeps assuring me that "speed will come" and "muscle memory" (from our last race in October?!) will kick in. Here's hoping.

The weather predictions for "race day" (which may be a race for everyone else but we're refusing to view it that way since it's too much pressure) is an ominous combination of rain, cold and 50-km/hour winds. Yet, really, how often are the weather forecasts correct? I'm praying they're wrong and somehow it's turns out just slightly overcast and cool. Surely this ain't too much to ask? Fingers crossed for us that it's not as bad as predicted.

Pancetta Spaghetti

serves 2

5 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

1/2 cup olive oil

4 oz finely diced pancetta

8 oz spaghetti

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

To make the garlic oil, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic. Remove from stove and let infuse for one hour, then discard the garlic. Cook pasta according to the package directions. In a separate pan, fry the pancetta in two tablespoons of garlic oil until cooked (about three to four minutes). Drain pasta and add to the pancetta. Finish with parsley.

Rest of the week

May 13 Skipped dinner because of big lunch; kids had pizza from Queen Margherita

May 14 Pancetta spaghetti and leftover broccoli salad