Carb-loading: Spaghetti Pomodoro

Tomorrow is the first day of the pre-race taper for the half marathon.

For weeks now Tom and I have been running 10+ miles every Saturday. Long runs on Saturday means carb-loading on Fridays. I discovered long ago that the best pre-run meal for me is one that’s quick and easy (being on your feet cooking for hours isn’t helpful for running), low-fiber (ahem), and delicious.

We discovered the recipe for Spaghetti Pomodoro when Tom was training for the marathon, and it’s still our favorite spaghetti recipe of all time.

It starts with a pile of minced garlic and drizzle of olive oil. (Don’t all good recipes start that way?)


Add some crushed Italian tomatoes, a dash of salt and oregano, and let it simmer.


Boil a box of noodles (I use whole wheat noodles until  the night before the race. Then I use white noodles because of the extra, um, fiber.) and add it to the sauce.


Garnish with fresh parmesan and you’re done.


Our favorite part of this recipe is that it makes enough for a crowd, so it’s best enjoyed with friends.

And then this is the part where I wanted to put a photo of our table crowded with friends, kids smeared with spaghetti, empty plates, full bellies and big smiles. But even though, week after week, we had friends over to help us eat spaghetti, I forgot to take a photo every time. 

I remembered to put out the parmesan, the salad, the homemade bread and olive oil for dipping. But once we got the kids all settled at the table and passed out napkins, I forgot to pull out the camera. Perhaps I was too busy shoveling spaghetti into my mouth and trying to convince myself that even though I really want that glass of wine now, I’ll regret it in 12 hours when I’m running.

So I don’t have a photo.

But here’s the recipe, so you can make it and see why I was too busy eating to remember to take a photo.

Spaghetti Pomodoro

Drizzle of olive oil
3-4 cloves minced garlic
3-16 oz cans of peeled, whole Italian plum tomoatoes (we use San Marzano)
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in a saucepan and add garlic. Saute until golden brown. When garlic is brown, transfer tomatoes and their juice to the pan, crushing with your hands (I just crush them in the can. Tom pours them in a bowl and crushes them, then pours them in the pan. He doesn’t do it my way because his hands are too big to fit in the can. I don’t do it his way because I don’t want to wash an extra bowl.) Add salt and oregano to taste. Simmer on low for 45 minutes. Add a little water if needed to keep sauce from becoming too thick (it should be bright red; if it turns brick red, it’s too thick).

Meanwhile, boil a pound of pasta in salted water. Just before it’s cooked, lift pasta from the water and add to the simmering sauce. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce, while absorbing the sauce. (Instead of straining the pasta, lift it with a pasta spoon so some of the pasta water will be added to the sauce to keep it liquid.

We use this simple recipe for nights before our runs, but there are lots of delicious variations here. I think the Spaghetti allo Scoglio looks most delicious.


  1. Jenny Ramsey November 8, 2013

    You need help eating spaghetti and you haven’t called me? I’ll have you know I have an entire ARMY of spaghetti-eating-carb-lovers.

  2. Katherine A. November 9, 2013

    This looks so easy to make! Will have to try!

  3. tom (the husband) November 9, 2013

    the key to this recipe is buying the imported (somewhat expensive) italian tomatoes mentioned in the recipe. they are not in the same section as the rest of the crushed tomatoes. you have to look in the ethnic food aisle and find the italian section.


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