September 30, 2015

Carrabba's Cavatappi Amatriciana

In four days I will be running my 8th half marathon. Of all of my prior races, this is the one I've trained the least for. My pace has slowed about 0:45/mile ...and oddly I'm ok with that (I think. Ask me again on Sunday.) I underestimated the difficulty of training solo and realized just how much my running buddies meant to me personally and the success of my runs. Richmond really had a phenomenal (this is NOT an exaggeration) organization for runners- between Sports Backers' MTT/HMTT/SMTT programs, Richmond Road Runner's Club and the local running shops. I sure do miss the RVA community.

With that being said, it's time to carbo-load! Bored with my usual pre-race carbs, usually consisting of spaghetti and chicken parm, I remembered enjoying Carrabba's Cavatappi Amatriciana side and knew I wanted to make it. After a short Google search, I found the recipe and went to the grocery store the same day to get items I didn't already have.

Recipe is from and my adaptations are noted.

  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. EVOO
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped finely
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic (*This was not in the original recipe, but I believe every Italian dish needs garlic!)
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (*I subbed for 3 taps of Cayenne Pepper since I already had it on hand)
  • 5 Tbsp. grated Romano cheese (*I'm generous with cheese ;) )
  1. Boil 6 quarts of salted water for pasta.
  2. In a large saucepan, add the olive oil and melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan; sauté unit the onions translucent. Add half of the can of crushed tomatoes and the cayenne pepper. Increase heat to high and sauté, stirring often, until mixture is thick and most of the moisture is cooked away. The sauce should be very rich.
  3. Add the remaining crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the juices have thickened. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water, until just al dente.
  4. Add remaining butter to the sauce and stir in; taste for seasoning. Drain pasta (when possible, remove your pasta from the water rather than pouring through a colander), retaining some or all of the pasta water. Toss the drained pasta into the sauce, stirring around to thoroughly coat the pasta and finish cooking it.
  5. When pasta is a perfect al dente consistency, add the cheese and stir it in. Serve immediately, with more cheese on the side. Enjoy!

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