Spanish-Style Shrimp and Farfalle

Running for fun is a funny thing.

I used to think that running for fun was a contradiction in terms, and was an activity best-suited for certain types of people.  Types of people who are born with two hearts and no sweat glands, perhaps.

Types of people who might sleep in their shiny spandex, make a year-round, GPS-watch tan line look hot, and whiz by you shouting "You've totally got this!" as you walk to the mailbox.  In your bathrobe.

And since the 1-mile run portion of the President's Physical Fitness Test left my 12-year-old self sweaty and unglamorous (to put it mildly), I was convinced I was not the type who could run for fun, and that I never would be.

But, in my defense, I'm surprised more of us don't loathe running after having to endure that yearly fitness challenge.  I'm also surprised that we low-scoring sit-and-reachers have been able to go this long without the inevitable back surgery we were promised.  But what do I know?  I'm no elementary school PE teacher.  They had to keep from laughing at the faces (and sounds) kids made during a pull up.  I suspect it's a tough job.

But I digress.

Isn't it funny how things change?  Now I'm totally one of those people who runs for fun!  Ok, I still sweat like a maniac, and who am I kidding about any kind of runner's tan?  But I'll totally cheer you on as you drink that coffee on your porch.

And I'll carb-load with the best of them.

One of my favorite problems to solve while running (after What in God's name am I going to wear today?  Think. THINK!) is what to make for dinner.  And by the time I've nailed down a few wardrobe options, I'm usually craving carbs.  Fortunately, a homemade and healthy pasta dinner isn't hard to accomplish.

Did you know that in as much time as it takes to cook some pasta, you can make a tangy and flavorful Spanish-style sauce, rich with tomatoes, olives, and spices?  You've totally got this! 

And the hearty combination of lean shrimp and whole wheat farfalle has just the right protein/carb ratio for your pasta bowl, whether you're training for a race or for a curl-up rematch with your elementary school arch-nemesis.

This time, you should totally gain the competitive edge by playing with the Velcro on his sneakers as you hold his ankles.  You'll be amazed at how those noisy fibers disrupt a rhythm.  Consider it.

Spanish-Style Shrimp and Farfalle
Adapted from Health Magazine
Yields 4 servings

8 oz whole wheat farfalle
1 lb frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 c onion, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c orange juice
1 tbs sherry vinegar
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Cook the farfalle pasta according to the package directions.  Drain, and set aside.

Toss the shrimp with the cumin, salt/pepper.  Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shrimp, and cook until pink, about 2 minutes per side.  Don't overcook!  Remove the shrimp from the skillet, and set aside.

Heat the remaining tbs of oil, and add the onion, thyme, and cinnamon.  Cook until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes.  Increase the heat to high, and add the orange juice, vinegar, tomatoes, and olives.  Cook until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Add the shrimp, and remove from the heat.  Add the pasta, and toss to combine.

Garnish with parsley as desired.

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