When Life is a Marathon, Carbo Load

by Marge Perry on May 12, 2013

Sometimes life bubbles up all around you, like the head of foam on a nice egg cream or cold beer. Lovely, unless your bubbles keep growing and you have to stand on tiptoes in the glass in order to keep your brain free and clear. And then you take your pen and gently poke each and every bubble, enjoying the nice little exhalation of joy they give as they enter the atmosphere where met deadlines and obligations gather.

Soon your arms grow weary and you wish you could take a nap, or at least sit down for an hour or two. But you can’t: you have knowingly engaged in a foamy bubble-popping marathon. And you are not a quitter, and you don’t miss your dates, so the only solution you can think of is to fuel yourself up for the race against the rising foam.

For this, you must consume soothing, endurance-inducing pasta, and it must taste like spring to remind you how breathtakingly lovely the magenta azaleas are; how luscious the sweet lilacs smell; how comical and cute the new born bunnies hopping through the grass look. Re-fueled and re-newed, you will thrive on your work but quietly count the days until your escape with your husband, the first trip for just the two of you in ever-so-long.

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Spinach and Pepita Pesto on Linguine

Many grocery stores now sell shelled pepita, aka pumpkin seeds, but you can substitute many other seeds and nuts, uncluding pine nuts, almonds, and even shelled sunflower seeds.

8 ounces linguine

1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/3 cup shelled pepita (pumpkin seeds)

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/3 cup basil leaves

¼ cup cilantro leaves

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup grated pecorino Romano

  1. Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until al dente. When the pasta is cooked, scoop out ¼ cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto: squeeze the spinach dry and place in a food processor along with the pepita, lime juice, basil, cilantro and salt; process until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil; process until it is fully incorporated. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water.
  3. Scoop out ½ cup of the pesto; transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 2 months.
  4. Toss the remaining sauce with the linguine and cheese. If pasta is not going to be served immediately, stir in 1 tablespoon of additional olive oil or water to loosen the sauce.

Makes 4 servings (with enough freezable pesto left for another 4 servings later)

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 350 calories, 14 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 13 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 241 mg sodium

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert J. May 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Great post


Candice May 13, 2013 at 1:37 am


You are not alone on that trail. I recently had to stop and revaluate my schedule and see if it’s worth it. I will have to try this pesto. I sounds so much healthier than the average cheese-oil-basil mix I’m used to.


Kimberly Winter Stern May 13, 2013 at 3:39 am

I am running with you, Marge. You meet the nicest people in this marathon.

I hope the trip on the horizon is the one that restores your fuel:)

As always, excellent post …



Marge May 13, 2013 at 4:09 am

Happy to have your company on this journey (and many others), KImberly. Friendship helps those bubbles subside.


Kurt Jacobson May 13, 2013 at 6:47 am

this looks like a great recipe to try as soon as my basil patch starts producing. What would you do different if using fresh spinach?
BTW the first 2 cooking classes for the girls at the residential rehab unit I volunteer at went great! It was a lot of fun and if all goes well we have 2 per month finishing in Dec. I would send pics but confidentiality rules prohibit me taking photos.


Marge May 13, 2013 at 6:52 am

Kurt– I am so happy to hear about your cooking classes! I will be posting shortly about mine– right after I do the final end-of-year wrap-up class.

It’s funny you mentioned the fresh spinach alternative on the recipe, as it is something I thought about. While I would have to test it to get an exact measure, My guess is that you would cook down about 1 pound of spinach and squeeze it dry before proceeding with the recipe as written.

I’d love to hear more about what you are doing in your classes with the kids…


edward May 13, 2013 at 6:26 pm

And of course life is a marathon, but we get to control the pace thank Goddess! Great recipe and love it’s so versatile.


najwa kronfel May 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

This looks delicious Marge. I love that you used cilantro, yum!


gabis June 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I want to make this using fresh spinach but I don’t know how much should I use. Could you please let me know how many cups of fresh spinach would work? thanks :)


Marge June 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

It takes about 1 1/2 pounds of fresh spinach (15-18 cups) to cook down to the same volume you get from 1 10-ounce box. It will look like an enormous amount of spinach, but when you cook it down (which you need to do to make this dish) it should be about 1 1/2 cups.


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