My husband is a triathlete and my brother-in-law is one, too (I did one triathlon race, which might be my last one. so I don't consider myself a triathlete who can carbo load). So in our house, 'carbo load' is a familiar term. I usually cook lots of pasta or potatoes two days before the race (not a day before since it might come out during the race. haha). This is the dish I made for my brother-in-law, who completed the Olympic Distance triathlon race over the weekend - sub 3 hours, too!
Ingredients:Rigatoni - 3 cups (measured when uncooked)
Onion - 1/2 med (chopped finely)
Mushroom - 6 med (chopped finely)
Zucchini - 2 med (chopped finely)
Garlic - 2 cloves (minced)
Ground beef - 1/2 lb
Carrots - 2 med (chopped finely)
Celery - 2 stalks (chopped finely)
Marinara or Pasta sauce - 1/2 jar (2 cups)
Tomato ketchup - 2 TBS
Brown sugar - 1~3 TBS, depending on how sweet you want the sauce to be
Italian seasoning - 2 tsp **See TIPS
Salt & Pepper - 1 tsp each (or to taste)
Sour cream - 1/2 to 1 cup (optional)
Provolone cheese - 4 slices (or less if you prefer less cheesy)
Mozzarella cheese - 1 cup
- Chop all veggies & garlic.
- Cook Rigatoni pasta according to the packet (about 12 minutes for al dente)
|Chop the veggies|
- In a 5 quart pot, add olive oil or butter, fry onion (and harder veggies like carrots) until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Keep stirring.
- Add in ground beef. Fry until beef is somewhat cooked.
- Add in all the veggies. Stir well. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add in Marinara or pasta sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and Italian seasoning. Cover for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for another 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens (liquid evaporates) Taste with salt & pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Meanwhile, add in sour cream to rigatoni to give a creamy texture.
- On a glass or baking dish, add the 1/3 of the tomato sauce, line with half of the sour creamed pasta, followed by two slices (or one) of provolone cheese. Put another 1/3 tomato sauce on top, followed by half of the pasta and cheese. The layer should finish with the last 1/3 tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese on top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top is bubbly and cheese is melted (and golden brown).
|Let it simmer down to get thicker texture|
|I only had about 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, so it looks sad on the top. :)|
- The pasta has quite a strong cheese taste, so serving it with bread sticks or salad will help balance the taste out.
- Instead of ground beef, you can also add grilled chicken on top or separate.
- If you don't have Italian seasoning, just use your favorite herbs or combination of several different types of herbs.
- Provolone cheese has very strong cheese aftertaste. Cut down on the cheese by adding more pasta or simply use half of what the recipe calls for.
- No time to bake? Just serve it up by pouring the meat sauce over the rigatoni pasta. It still tastes good. :)