Carbo-loading for Endurance Sports

Winter sports are great fun but they can take a toll on even the fittest among us. Keep your energy high - and your immune system fortified - during the cold-weather season by fueling your body with high-quality protein, good fats and slow-burning carbs. This pasta recipe for Bolognese sauce is the perfect pre-race meal for endurance athletes and weekend warriors alike. Make a big batch and freeze it for meals on the go, a powerful pre-race supper or as a no-brainer post-workout dinner.  

Pasta Bolognese
Credit: © Ppy2010ha |

Ingredients: Serves 4 for dinner, 6 for lunch

  • 1 lb. pasta (any shape will work)
  • 1/4 lb. prosciutto, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole Italian San Marzano plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • A large handful of fresh basil leaves, washed, dried and chopped (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
  • 2 tbs. table salt for the pasta water
  • 1-2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can tomato puree (optional)
  • 2 (16 oz.) pkgs. fettuccini (or tagliatelle)
  • FRESHLY grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Winter Trail Runner
Credit: © Rcaucino |


  1. Use a large, heavy stockpot or dutch oven for best results.
  2. Cook the prosciutto over medium heat until crispy, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the beef, pork and veal and brown gently, stirring frequently to mix ingredients and ensure even cooking, about 30 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and discard.
  4. While meat is cooking, dice the carrot, onion and celery and mince the garlic. Combine in a small bowl.
  5. Once the meat is done, add in the vegetables and the bay leaf and stir. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add the tomatoes, including the juice from the can. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
  7. Add half of the basil leaves and season with kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If sauce is very thick, add the tomato puree to thin it a bit.
  8. About 30 minutes before the sauce is done, put a very large pot of water (4 quarts/liters) on to boil over high heat. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add 2 heaping tablespoons of table salt and add the pasta. Stir gently and cook until al dente (firm to the bite). Reserve a 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.
  9. Remove the lid and add the remainder of the chopped basil to the sauce. Mix gently.
  10. Drain the pasta and put it back in the hot pot, off the heat. Add in some of the sauce and toss gently to thoroughly coat the pasta. Don't overload the pasta with sauce! There should be a good balance of sauce and pasta in each bite. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water to smooth out the sauce. Plate into warmed bowls , top with a dollop of additional sauce, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and garnish with basil. Serve immediately. Refrigerate or freeze any leftover sauce. It keeps in the fridge up to a week and 3 months frozen. 

Notes and Substitutions

If you don't have ground veal, just double the beef or the pork. Bacon or ham can be used in place of the prosciutto. If using prosciutto, be careful with the seasoning as this type of Italian ham is very salty.

Add Lots of Garlic: It's A Natural Immune System Booster

Head of Garlic
Credit: © Christine Coughlan | My Favorite Pasta Recipes

Adding garlic to your diet is a smart way to add tons of flavor to your food while keeping yourself healthy and fit during the cold and flu season. Add it to soups, stews, sauces, dips and sandwich spreads. 

"Garlic (Allium sativum) is widely recognised as a culinary herb and a potent natural medicine. It is a natural antimicrobial and unlike most antibiotics, garlic does not destroy the body's normal flora. Garlic is a health-building herb, rich in potassium, zinc, vitamins A and C and selenium. It also contains sulfur, calcium, manganese, copper, vitamin B1 and iron. Thousands of research studies have been done on garlic over the past 40 years - by 1996 there were at least 1,808 scientific studies. These studies have repeatedly shown the benefits of garlic - an example of good research showing what millions of people of all cultures throughout history have known!

Garlic is a potent immune system booster. It is also an active anti-microbial, agent - effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. It is also an anti-inflammatory and acts as shield against radiation therapy. It also has analgesic and fever reducing properties. You can take garlic in large doses to destroy viruses and bacteria without damaging yourself. Garlic is best eaten fresh and finely chopped as commercial production and cooking can destroy much of the natural activity of the fresh cloves. Fresh garlic can be used in salads, salad dressings and other dishes." - Dr. Jenny Tylee

Got More Time? Make This Lasagna with Bolognese Sauce for a Crowd

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