This weekend was absolutely wonderful. Saturday AM I ran my first 5K of my life. Although I ran in he 2005 Arnold Mills Road Race and then a few weeks ago in the Corporate Challenge road race... this race was the first that I was able to complete running the whole time! I ran the race in 38 minutes and 45 seconds. It was quite an accomplishment for me as I have always, always struggled with running. During elementary school gym class I was a member of the "slow poke's club" and not even Mrs. Kenwood's cheers of "Let's go joggers!!!" could motivate me to even run a mile. In middle school I was on the cross country team but just walked the runs, socialized, and snuck off the paths to find little streams and rivers to play in. In high school, I swam, joined the track team as a thrower, and played on the line during flag football-- anything and everything to avoid running.
But after months of training and hurt knees and physical therapy and icing and stretching... I ran for 3.2 miles without stopping! It is a big source of pride for me.
I prepared for the Saturday morning run by eating a nice meal of carbs on Friday night. I hadn't had a bowl of pasta in a while so I planned to make it special by recreating a meal that I
have eaten time and time again while at my favorite restaurant in Florence, Italy. Attached is a picture of this amazing meal at a trattoria called Mastrociliega.
The menu in Italy says it is made with gorgonzola cheese and truffle. There is asparagus in the dish and penne pasta. To try and recreate this meal, I first bought a bottle of truffle oil from a local specialty italian deli for $23.95. I had some fresh asparagus and a block of fresh gorgonzola cheese.
To make the sauce, which isn't very thick, I first started melting some (a lot) of butter in a pan and adding a small amount of the gorgonzola cheese. Right from the beginning, it was smelling good in the kitchen. I had been planning on adding some flour to the butter to make a rue and make the sauce a bit thicker, but alas, we were out of flour so I couldn't do that. I also wanted to add some milk to the dish... all we had was skim milk, which was a bit thinner than I wanted but I tried it anyway. I let the milk, butter, and cheese melt and simmer together and reduce. The truffle oil smelled amazing and it was the last thing I added. I also put a bit of salt into the sauce.
I boiled and salted the water, cooked the pasta, and for the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking I dropped the asparagus into the water. I drained everything and mixed the sauce and the pasta. I finished it off with a bit of fresh grated mozzarella cheese.
Now, I don't think anything can compare to the dish that is made at Mastrociliega's but I have to admit. It was really, really good. And I still have a TON of truffle oil left so definitely more to come. I think in the future I will try the dish again using some flour to make a rue and using a fattier milk. Definitely not a diet meal... but it was good. Perhaps it will be a pre-race ritual for me??