Carbo-loading before a marathon or big game? We have the pasta recipe you’ve been looking for, courtesy of cookbook author, restaurateur, and Food Network star Ayesha Curry. (Related: Get your marathon training plan here).
The recipe features a generous serving of spaghetti to help you fill your tank, and the hearty sauce is filled with antioxidant-rich vegetables, like tomatoes, eggplants, and spinach. You know it’s legit because Curry makes the dish for her basketball star husband, Stephen Curry, before a game.
Game Day Pasta
Serves: 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 globe eggplant, cut into cubes (about 6 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with a spoon or your hands, including liquid
- Pinch of dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 1 pound spaghetti or penne
- 2 packed cups spinach leaves
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 or 2 lemon wedges
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and bay leaves, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and season with the thyme, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, simmering gently over medium-low heat, until the tomatoes have thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Be sure to crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon if any large chunks remain. Fish out the bay leaves.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot. Pour in the sauce, add the spinach and basil, and mix with tongs to coat evenly. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and taste, seasoning with more salt if desired. If the pasta seems dry, drizzle in a splash of the reserved pasta cooking water. To serve, mound the pasta on plates.
Adapted with permission from The Seasoned Life by Ayesha Curry (Little, Brown and Company 2016).