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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

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