3 Healthy Pasta Dishes To Fuel Your Run – Women's Running UK

3 Healthy Pasta Dishes To Fuel Your Run

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  September 7, 2017

If there’s any time you can indulge in your favourite pasta dishes, it’s before a race. Carbohydrates are essential to a runner’s diet, particularly in the days leading up to a race, and pasta is an unbeatable source. Sports nutritionists advise that 50% to 65% of the calories consumed by a runner should be taken in the form of carbohydrates (the longer the distance the higher the percentage).

The night before a race a meal high in carbohydrate is needed to boost the body’s muscle glycogen stores. It is also wise to choose a dish that is low in fat and relatively low in protein, as these take a long time to digest and will not provide the body with the energy it needs.

Here’s three delicious pasta dishes, high in carbohydrates and low in fat – perfect to fuel up before a run.

Pasta alla Norma by Sara Danesin

Pasta Alla Norma

A classic Sicilian recipe blending the flavours of aubergines, tomatoes, basil and ricotta. The term Norma may refer to the lady who developed the dish whose standard was deemed as high as Bellini’s opera La Norma.

Serves: 4


2 medium aubergines, sliced width-wise, layered and salted with coarse salt and spread out to “sweat” in colander with a plate (weight) on top of the pile

500ml of passata

Basil (12 leaves – fresh)

2 cloves of garlic

2 medium shallots

150ml corn oil/mild olive oil for frying

20ml extra virgin olive oil

400 gms of Garofalo Mezze Maniche


  1. Slice width-wise the aubergines, and sprinkle them with rock salt as you layer them to “sweat” in colander. Place a weight on top of the colander and allow at least half an hour for the excess water to drain from the aubergines. Pat them dry afterwards and fry them in corn oil/light olive oil.
  2. Rest the fried aubergines in absorbent paper and slice in strips (1/2 cm width).
  3. For the sauce, slice 2 medium shallots and sauté in a pan with 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, add the tinned tomato and let the sauce reduce to a jam like consistency.
  4. When the sauce is ready, add the aubergines, mix well, add the finely chopped basil and the grated salted ricotta (or parmesan /pecorino). If the sauce is a little too dense, add – before the cheese – half a ladle of boiling water and mix well, drain the pasta and serve
    at once.
  5. To cook the pasta, use a large capacity pan and bring to the boil 4 litres of water, add salt and then the pasta.
  6. The golden rule for cooking pasta properly is to use one litre of water for every 100gm of pasta! Don’t bother adding any oil (it has better uses) to prevent pasta from sticking: it is the quantity of water and regular stirring that will ensure pasta doesn’t stick.

Per serving: Calories: 848 per serving, Protein 21.3g, Carbohydrates 72.9g of which sugars 7.2g, Total fat 50.6g, Saturates 9.7g, Fibre 4.8g Salt 1.3g

Farfalle with Fresh Tuna, Capers, Oregano, Red Peppers and Taggiasche Olives by Sara Danesin

Healthy Farfalle with Fresh Tuna

This recipe is a fusion between Sicily and Liguria and combines the fresh flavours of the Mediterranean. This healthy option is full of omega 3 and vegetables, and can be used to entertain friends or eaten as a salad.

Serves: 4


300g Garofalo farfalle

2 small red peppers

200g fresh sashimi grade tuna

20g Taggiasche olives

2 tbsp capers

1 clove of garlic

1 banana shallot

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp anchovy paste

2 tbsp chopped chives

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp grana padano

Salt and pepper for seasoning

A touch of chilli pepper (dried pepperoncino from Campania is best)


  1. First of all cut the tuna in small cubes (for a neater result, freeze the tuna for half an hour before cutting), place in a bowl and marinate with the lemon juice, 1 of the 4 tbsp of olive oil, and the 2 tbsp of finely chopped capers. Rest and leave aside.
  2. While the tuna rests in the freezer, in a big frying pan, add the rest of olive oil and the anchovy paste and chopped shallot and garlic clove, mix well and sauté until the paste has dissolved. Add the peppers (finely seeded and diced). Cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes or until the peppers are tender but still hold their shape. (If you feel the mix is too dry, add a few tbsp of boiling water to aid the cooking process.)
  3. In the meantime boil a copious amount of water (at least one litre per 100g of pasta), and when boiling add the salt, roughly speaking 2 tbsp rock salt, add the pasta and stir well. The right al dente time for farfalle is 15 minutes, so to fully enjoy the Garofalo flavour and “bite” stick to the advised cooking time!
  4. When the peppers are ready, add the olives mix and cook for 3-4 minutes until warmed through. Add the diced tuna, mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes until it changes colour from dark red to pink. Tuna overcooks easily; having been marinated in lemon it will cook quickly. Mix in the chopped chives and Grana Padano, and serve.

Per serving: 414kcal, Protein 25.4g, Carbohydrates 41.9g of which sugars 3.9g, Total fat 15.6g, Saturates 3.6g, Fibre 1.3g, Salt 1.2g

Spicy Tomato Tagliatelle by Joy Skipper

Spicy Tomato Tagliatelle

If time is not on your side but you need a good, filling meal, this quick and spicy pasta dish is the perfect pre-run option. You can add steamed broccoli or asparagus if you have it. For added protein, try adding tinned tuna.

Serves: 2


250g tagliatelle

½ tbsp olive oil

1 red chilli, deseeded and diced

5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated

3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 x 400g (13oz) chopped tomatoes

2 tsp sugar

3-4 anchovies

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 tbsp grated cheddar cheese


  1. Cook the tagliatelle according to the pack instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the chilli and ginger, cooking for 1-2 minutes, before adding the garlic and cooking for a further minute.
  3. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, stir
    in the sugar and anchovies and bring
    to a simmer. Cook for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the parsley and season to taste.
  5. Drain the pasta and return to the pan, then pour in the sauce and toss them together well.
  6. Serve in bowls, with a small sprinkling of grated cheese.

 Per serving: Calories 521, Protein 23.5G, Carbohydrates 81.7G, Fat 13.6G (SAT: 4.9G)

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